Italy is concerned right now with damage caused by bad weather that struck its vineyards a month ago, and judges the possibility of a new production record unlikely. On the other side of the globe, the grape harvest is over and the first results are in. What kind of year was it for the countries of the southern hemisphere? “It was a small harvest, but a promising one,” say producers. In Argentina, the fall in production was caused by springtime frosts that could diminish the 2017 harvest by 40%. Those who were able to harvest a few weeks early did better, but more or less all the regions suffered in comparison to preceding years, although the effects of El Niño (the unusual heating of ocean water, causing drought, that last year harmed all of Argentina’s agriculture) had been overcome and weather was normalizing.
The same was true in Chile, where the year was described as ‘atypical’, with temperatures extremely high, physiological phases occurring early and yields low. The internal regions suffered the most, the area of Secano Interior hit by fires that in recent months destroyed half a million hectares. The drop in productivity, nevertheless, is not something new for the countries of the New World. Last year, Chile did not produce more than 10.1 million hectoliters and Argentina came in at 9.4 million hectoliters, one of the worst vintages of all time.