The first tractors lugging trays of just-harvested grapes have been seen on Tuscan streets, holding up cars driven by drivers who patiently trail behind, not in the slightest bit annoyed by the delays because they are fully aware that the hold-up is all part of production of one of the region’s most loved productions ? wine!

The 2010 vendemmia (harvest) is approaching and here is a small report of what the season has been like, from Count Sebastiano Capponi:

After several years of great harvests, this year has not been the best. Let’s hope the expertise gathered over thousands of years of wine production in the area can still manipulate the outcome from inside the cellar!

The weather pattern in Chianti for 2010 was characterised by a long winter that prevented the insects species from thriving and prospering. Therefore the insects have been pretty mild during the summer due also by the cooler temperatures throughout these last few months.

After the cold of the winter, spring was rather wet, with many downpours and even some hailstorms, especially in areas of Castellina and Radda. This resulted in a scarce fruit set particularly in the younger vines. Strong humidity and relatively high temperatures fostered also strong funguse attacks on the vines which created strong problems and further diminished the production. Some lower and more humid areas suffered from the April frost which burnt the plants’ first gems which are also the productive ones.

The weather changed from mid-June and summer finally arrived with relatively high temperatures in the last part of July and a very cool first half of August with some rain that brought solace to the plants and maintaining their water reserves in the soil but on the other hand allowing fungine diseases to continue thriving. Farmers who have been careful have however been able to keep these problems in check, allowing the vines to ripen their fruit to their best.

September started with some bad omens because the new moon came on a rainy day – a phenomenon that usually anticipates variable weather for the next 28 days. As the harvest of Sangiovese will not start in Chianti before the third week of this month, a little bit later than usual due to such a cool spring and summer. Our hope is that the sun will vanquish the clouds eventually and allow us to pick in tranquillity!

The general impression is that 2010 has been a challenging year and the final result will certainly depend on how the vines were tended by their farmers.

Best wishes
Sebastiano Capponi

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