Pinot Noir harvest has begun in Franciacorta

franciacorta harvest 2013

Barone Pizzini manager Silvano Brescianini (vice president of the Franciacorta consortium) sent these photos today.

The panorama shot is a great example of Franciacorta’s unique topography: note the morainic hills (glacial debris) that violently shoot up from the landscape.

And note also the cloud cover, created in part by the maritime influence of Lake Iseo: it helps to keep the berries cool in these final days of ripening, helping to develop the nuanced aromatic character of the wines made there.

And feast your eyes on these Pinot Nero babies (below)!

pinot noir harvest italy 2013

Franciacorta harvest has begun

vineyard workers italy

A note from Barone Pizzini manager and Franciacorta Consortium vice president Silvano Brescianini:

This year, in terms of the number of grape bunches and their average weight, yields won’t be high due to the sharp drop in nighttime temperatures during the delicate phase of flowering.

For the 2,800 hectares authorized for the production of Franciacorta, the forecast is average yields of 800-900 kg per hectare (Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Nero).

The 2013 harvest will be remembered as a vintage defined by late-ripening. This works to our advantage because the grapes are picked when temperatures are cooler. This is fundamental for the evolution of the aromas and for obtaining the correct acidic balance.

Early analysis of the grapes points to a good vintage. But as always, the final word on the harvest won’t be spoken for another few months, until the base wines are ready.

Sales have been generally good in 2013 and we hope that this positive trend will continue.

Source: Mille Vigne.

harvest italy 2013 franciacorta

A classic harvest expected in Castelli di Jesi


A note from Pievalta winery manager Silvia Loschi:

Here’s a photo [above] of Verdicchio grapes taken today in our Moie vineyard.

We’ve been preparing for the 2013 harvest this week.

We started by checking and cleaning the press, tanks, and pumps.

On Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., we began sampling berries in the Moie and San Paolo vineyards.

The grapes are still ripening and the analysis tells us that we still need to wait for for the beginning of the harvest.

Finally, after two early harvests in 2011 and 2012, we’re looking forward to a more classic date for harvesting our Verdicchio.

Harvest will begin shortly after August 15

A note from Barone Pizzini vineyard manager Pierluigi Donna:

The evolution of the analytic overview is evolving very rapidly.

Nature is making up for time lost during the cold and rain in the spring.

We’ll be able to begin picking just after August 15. In other vintages, the grapes were already in the cellar by then.

Our technicians are sampling berries in order to establish the ideal order for the harvest based on the different types of Franciacorta wine.

italy chardonnay

Ripening has begun

A note, just in, from Barone Pizzini manager Marta Piovani:

grape ripening

Ripening has now begun in the vineyards.

What does this mean?

Ripening indicates a series of metabolic processes that cause a gradual accumulation of sugars in each berry. At the same time, these processes reduce the organic acids in the berries. It’s also a period when a synthesis of important substances in the grapes occurs. This will determine the final quality of the fruit.

Quality will be ensured by optimizing ripening. In other words, we will determine the date of harvest in accordance with different parameters, including the ratio of sugars and acids in the juice contained in the grape.

The photo above was taken today, August 9, 2013. The skin of the berry has become elastic, thus allowing the berry to expand.

Véraison nearly complete in Franciacorta

veraison franciacorta

Above: Pinot Nero grapes in Barone Pizzini’s Polzina vineyard. Photo taken today, August 7, 2013. See the wider shot of the vineyard, also taken today, below.

From the Franciacorta Consortium bulletin this week: “Véraison is still not complete. Ripening is still just beginning and the sugar levels are still low while the acidity is high. The progression of ripening will be determined by [climatic] conditions over the next few days.”

vineyard franciacorta

Healthy Verdicchio grapes in Castelli di Jesi


In the image above, you can see how the Verdicchio berries are completing their growth.

In a few weeks, the warm summer weather will prompt veraison (the onset of ripening) in a few weeks.

Some bunches show signs of millerandage, in other words, variation in berry size. This is due to a cold and rainy spring.

Because of the high pressure front and anticyclone expected this week, we won’t remove the leaves around the bunches.

The leaves will help to protect the fruit from the sun and they will retain their aromas during veraison.

—Alessandro Fenino
grape grower and winemaker

Franciacorta harvest update 2013: ideal conditions for Chardonnay

healthy chardonnay grapes franciacorta

On the above photo, taken yesterday, Barone Pizzini agronomist Pierluigi Donna notes:

These Chardonnay berries have reached their nearly definitive size.

Soon, over the course of a few weeks, véraison (the onset of ripening) will begin: they will begin to change color, from green to bright yellow, and they will begin to become softer.

These robust, beautiful bunches are the fruit of a healthy water table, the result of abundant springtime rain and the fair weather at this time of year. These are the ideal conditions for Franciacorta base wines.

Flowering has begun in Castelli di Jesi


Walking in the vineyards, these days you are enchanted by the scent of the vine flower.

It’s a particular and inebriating aroma that returns every year. It’s shame that you are not able to bottle it!

Fortunately, good weather is predicted for the next few weeks and we are looking forward to a good fruit set.

—Silva Loschi
manager, Pievalta

First flowers are a sign that the soil has returned to life

first flower vineyard

A note from the Barone Pizzini agronomist Pierluigi Donna:

Here are the first flowers that announce the vine’s upcoming production. It’s a very delicate phase in which the interaction between all the essences present in the soil and the biodiversity of the organisms become active again after the winter break.

With their presence and complexity, they help to contain the spores of the early parasites.