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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Michele Shah

Overall the lack of rain and high temperatures have not compromised ripening. The verdict is: good quality but lower yields'. Many northern regions are already harvesting white grapes. In Franciacorta, Bellavista started picking on 11 August. The grapes are fully ripe and very healthy. So far, so good,' said winemaker Mattia Vezzola. Mauro Lunelli of Ferrari Spumanti in Trento said high temperatures have forced producers to adapt, reducing yields in order to bring forward ripening. Barolo's clay soils have deep water supplies. It's improbable that the vines planted in clay terrain will suffer from lack of water,' said Ernesto Abbona of Marchesi di Barolo. The Nebbiolo vineyards and those of Serralunga d'Alba and La Morra are looking fine. We predict a good year,' said Danilo Drocco, Fontanafredda winemaker. In Veneto, the climatic conditions allowed Masi to reduce anti-parasitic treatments by 40% in the Campofiorin and Costanera vineyards. While in Bardolino and Soave, relief irrigation has been used in vineyards with new plantings. Further south in Tuscany, the new president of the Consorzio Gallo Nero, Giovanni Ricasoli-Firidolfi, of Cacchiano in Gaiole, predicted an outstanding year, on a par with 1990. The same goes for Sagrantino in Umbria, according to leading producer Marco Caprai. Piero Matroberardino compares 2003 in Irpinia, to 1990 and 1995. In Sicily, too, differences between day and night temperatures have brought good results, according to Francesca Planeta. But Donnafugata beat them all in Sicily, beginning its Chardonnay harvest on 3 August at Contessa Entellina.