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2022 harvest puts Sogevinus ‘to the test’

Published:  28 November, 2022

Leading Port and still wine producer Sogevinus is celebrating making its way through a "very difficult and challenging harvest", which was able to overcome significant viticultural challenges, including heat intensity and the lack of rainfall, particularly when it came to lower altitude vines.

Titled Sogevinus Harvest 2022: A great challenge successfully overcome, the vintage report from the house said that harvest 2022 really put the team ‘to the test’, both inside the winery and out.

Winemakers and vineyard managers were faced with scant rainfall throughout most of the vegetative cycle, with levels well below average almost every month. Record-breakingly high temperatures also placed the Douro in a severe state of drought by the end of June, with a high in the Pinhão region of 47ºC.

Despite the challenges however, the house noted that there were fewer issues with vine diseases this year, meaning the harvest’s yield was not affected.

Winemakers are reporting "pleasingly impressive" wines, too. Though harvest started early, the "almost simultaneous ripening across all grape varieties and all sub-regions" allowed the group to closely analyse the harvesting operation, thus ensuring the wines would still reflect the grapes’ maximum potential.

"The Port wines produced from the 2022 harvest show unusually clean aromas and extremely intense colours," the group said in its report. "The white wines are aromatic and fresh, showing phenomenal body. On the other hand, the reds are elegant, perfumed and with significantly intense tannins, which signals great ageing potential.

"Right now, after the conclusion of the harvest, we believe that it has yielded Port wines of great quality and great ageing potential. However, we will have to wait for the coldest months in the Douro to effectively see how these wines will develop."

The 2021-2022 viticultural year was notable for being hot and dry from winter to summer, with the challenges starting at the end of 2021, hinting at the harvest to come.

By the end of August, Quinta de S. Luiz – Sogevinus’ main property and the centre of its main activities in Adorigo, near Pinhão – recorded just 184mm of rain, 65% below average. At the same time, 58% of the days in June, July and August saw temperatures reaching highs of above 35ºC.

According to data from IPMA (Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere), July 2022 was the hottest month in the last 92 years for most of the country, with the highest ever temperature recorded in the Pinhão region, where its weather station recorded an eye-watering 47ºC.

The impact of this heatwave on low altitudes in particularly was ‘very worrying’ in the Cima Corgo region and in the Douro Superior sub-region, the group said. Weather conditions at higher altitudes and in Baixo Corgo were slightly milder, meaning the vines there suffered less.

The need to plan in detail, including prioritising pickings, therefore become a priority. The house noted that establishing quantities of grapes to be harvested per day, while selecting the mode of transport and winemaking processes, were ‘more demanding and crucial’ than the previous year. With temperatures above 40ºC, the team also accelerated the treading of all grapes, across white and red.

Overall, the group is pushing ahead with "Port wines with distinctive personality", which ended up with "excellent health" during picking.