2020 HARVEST REPORT

December 11, 2020

 

2020 has been a difficult year for most, the wine industry being no exception, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 25% tariffs imposed on many European wine regions by the United States.

ARGENTINA:

"An early, extraordinarily high quality harvest in otherwise terrible circumstances."

Sources: Wines of ArgentinaSouth America Wine Guide, Vinous

NORTHERN 

  • Calchaquí Valley had a later vintage due to higher than average rainfall and cloud cover.

MENDOZA

  • Lowest snowfall in 20 years and minimal rainfall, creating drought-like conditions and limiting irrigation.

  • The warmest vintage on record resulting in harvest starting 2-5 weeks early.

    • Whites were harvested roughly 2 weeks early.

    • Reds were harvested roughly 1 month early.

  • 20-30% lower yields than average.

PATAGONIA

  • A cold winter and spring with frost issues, followed by a hot, dry, windy summer.

  • An early vintage, harvest began 2-4 weeks earlier than average.

  • COVID restriction caused strain on the harvest.

 

AUSTRALIA:

The hottest and driest vintage on record and the smallest harvest since 2007 due to bushfires, smoke damage, frost, hail, and floods. This low yielding, winemaker's vintage, is forecasted to be of good quality. Shiraz accounted for 25% of the total harvest followed by Chardonnay (19%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) Merlot (6%), Sauvignon Blanc (6%), Pinot Gris (5%), Moscato Gordo Blanco (4%), Semillon (3%), Colombard (3%), Pinot Noir (2%), followed by many more.

Source: Wine Australia

NEW SOUTH WALES:

  • A very challenging vintage due to bushfires destroying 4.9 million hectares within the region.

  • Smoke taint affected: Hunter, Orange, Tumbarumba, Canberra District, Southern Highlands and Hilltops.

  • Murray Darling-Swan Hill (shared by Victoria) accounted for 25% of Australia's harvest.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

  • A challenging winemaker's vintage of low production. Top wines are of very good quality.

  • One of the driest years on record with drought conditions. 

  • Extreme diurnal shifts with frost issues at night, reducing the crop by roughly 50%.

  • Summer was affected by bush fires in the south followed by a reprieve from cooler conditions closer to harvest.

  • Overall a low yield with small berries requiring attention to detail during winemaking.

  • ​Smoke taint affected: Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.

  • Riverland accounted for 34% of Australia's harvest.

  • McLaren Vale had the 4th largest crush with 2% of the country's total. 

  • Barossa Valley had the 5th largest crush with 2% of the country's total. 

  • Coonawarra had the 6th largest crush with 2% of the country's total. 

  • Langhorne Creek had the 7th largest crush with 2% of the country's total. 

  • Padthaway had the 9th largest crush with 1% of the country's total. 

  • Wrattonbully had the 10th largest crush with 1% of the country's total. 

VICTORIA

  • A challenging, winemaker's vintage.

  • Quality is dependent on harvesting and winemaking techniques, top wines show elegance and purity.

  • A cool wet spring that reduced yields by 30-50% followed by a warm, dry summer with bushfires in the north, followed by heavy rainfall and mildew issues into harvest.

  • Smoke taint affected: Alpine Valleys, Beechworth and Glenrowan.

  • Riverina accounted for 20% of Australia's harvest.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

  • A very high quality, classic vintage of low production.

  • One of the earliest harvests on record due to low yields (after effects from cold in 2018 and hail in 2019), rather than heat. Otherwise almost perfect conditions for the vintage.

  • Margaret River had the 8th largest crush with 2% of the country's total. 

 

AUSTRIA:

A later harvest with less quantity than average. Projected to be a long lived and cellar worthy vintage. 

Source: Austrian Wine

AUSTRIA

  • A cool winter delayed bud break and coulure lowered yields.

  • A warm, dry spring quickened flowering.

  • Hot summer days and extended sunshine hours (15% more) encouraged ripening.

  • Cool nights helped preserve acidity.

  • Heavy amounts of rainfall and localized hail storms affected some vineyards along the Danube.

 

CANADA:

Overall a great season across the country.

Sources: Wine in Niagara, BC Harvest 2020

BRITISH COLUMBIA:

  • A great vintage showcasing lower alcohol and higher acidity

  • Overall a later vintage due to cooler weather.

  • Frost at bud break, spring rains, and record snow fall during harvest reduced yields by up to 30%.

ONTARIO

  • High quality vintage with near perfect conditions. A drier vintage kept disease pressure to a minimum

 

CHILE:

A warm winter resulted in early bud break, spring frosts caused damage for early ripening varieties.

Summer heatwaves and decade long drought conditions resulted in harvest occurring 1-4 weeks early than average.

Old vines and drought tolerant varieties such as Carignan, Monastrell, Semillon, and Syrah performed best.

Bordeaux varieties suffered with an average of 15-30% reduced yields.

Sources: South America Wine Guide, Vinous, Decanter, Concha Y Toro

 

ATACAMA

  • Pisco production is projected to be down by 20%.

COQUIMBO

  • Limarí benefitted to its proximity to the ocean and reservoirs and had an excellent harvest for all varieties.

  • Choapa suffered from the heat, reducing yields up to 50%.

ACONCAGUA 

  • In Casablanca, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc suffered from spring frosts reducing yields by 10-30%.

CENTRAL VALLEY 

  • Maipo had spring frost damage in higher elevation vineyards, overall yields were down by 10-20%.

  • Cachpoal had spring frost damage to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot, reducing yields by 10-30%.

  • Colchagua had reduced yields by an average of 30% due to drought conditions.

  • Curicó received 60-75% less rainfall than average and had spring frost issues with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. Overall yields were down 10-30%.

  • Maule received 50-80% less rainfall than average.

SUR

  • Itata Valley received 60% less rainfall than average, severely limiting irrigation, and 40-50% lowered yields for Pais and Cinsault.

 

FRANCE:

A year of early harvest

Sources: Bloomberg, Wine Industry Advisor, Paris Wine Company, Jancis RobinsonSkurnik, Gerard Bertrand,

Wines of Provence

ALSACE:

  • A warm, dry vintage that resulted in harvest starting roughly two weeks early.

 

BEAUJOLAIS:

  • An early vintage with harvest starting roughly one week earlier than usual.

  • A dry vintage causing vine stress depending on the soil type and lowered yields.

  • Drought tolerant old vines faired best.

  • Quality will vary producer to producer and depend on the ability to hand sort.

BORDEAUX:

  • Spring rains and mildew issues reduced yields up to 25%.

  • A hot and dry summer resulted in harvest beginning roughly two weeks early.

  • Overall a vintage with higher alcohol and lower acidity with varying quality.

 

BURGUNDY:

  • One of the earliest harvest on record with a generous crop.

  • A very hot summer days caused some vines to shut down, raisination, and sunburn.

  • Cooler nights and scattered rain showers helped give the vines some reprieve from the heat. 

  • Quality will range depending on viticulture and vinification methods.

 

CHAMPAGNE:

  • Warm temperatures supported a healthy bud break and flowering.

  • July was the driest ever on record.

  • Earliest harvest on record with on 85 days from flowering to harvest (typical is 100).

  • Yields were reduced by 25% to make up for sales shortages.

  • A vintage of high quality.

LANGUEDOC:

  • A mild, wet winter replenished groundwater reserves and allowed for an early bud break.

  • A warm, wet spring stimulated growth and early flowering.

  • A typical Mediterranean summer allowed even maturation.

  • Harvest began roughly 10 days earlier than usual.

 

LOIRE VALLEY:

  • A high quality vintage with one of the earliest harvests on record.

  • The region benefitted from the warm vintage and finally had a reprieve from frost damages of previous years.

PROVENCE:

  • A warm winter induced an early bud break.

  • Spring rains, frosts, hailstorms and mildew issues reduced yields.

  • A warm summer with cool nights saved the challenging start to the vintage.

 

RHONE VALLEY

  • Northern Rhone

    • Lower yields due to severe hail damage from 2019.

    • A hot, dry spring and summer heat spikes resulted in a challenging vintage.

    • Precision and experience in the vineyard and winery will determine quality of this vintage.

  • Southern Rhone

    • One of the earliest vintages on record.

    • Despite heat, drought, and hail storms in September, the vintage is shaping up to be of high quality. 

      • Old vines faired the best as they are less susceptible to heat and drought issues.

 

GERMANY:

A warm vintage resulting in wines with lower acidity, looking to be a high quality Pinot Noir vintage.

Sources: Bloomberg, Wines of Germany

GERMANY:​

  • A mild winter resulted in bud break occurring one to two weeks early.

  • Sunny and dry summer promoted ripeness and a rapid increase of sugars in the berries.

    • Sunburn issues reduced yields.​

  • May frosts reduced yields in Baden, Franken, Saale Unstrut, Sachsen, and Württemberg.

  • A large crop with harvest starting roughly 10 days early.

 

ITALY:

A challenging vintage with a smaller production than usual. Looking to be a quality vintage.

Sources: Bloomberg, Wine Industry Advisor, Tommasi, Italian Wine Central

ALTO ADIGE:

  • A rollercoaster start to the year with a mild winter, warm February, wet March, dry April, summer rain storms and heat waves, then rain and hail at harvest. 

  • Disease pressures were high this year due to rainfall.

  • An early vintage starting one to two week earlier than usual.​

FRIULI:

  • A mild start to the vintage with spring rains causing some mildew issues. 

  • Lower yields than average with quality looking to be high.

LOMBARDY:

  • Franciacorta had a challenging vintage with yields reduced by up to 30%.

    • Machine harvesting was permitted due to COVID restrictions.

PIEDMONT:

  • A great vintage with high diurnal shifts allowing for physiological ripeness and retention of aromatic freshness. 

PUGLIA:

  • Spring frosts drastically reduced yields.

  • Hot summers with cool nights resulted in what looks to be a high quality vintage.

TUSCANY:

  • Near optimal conditions for what looks to be an excellent, classic vintage.

    • A mild winter with spring rains provided sufficient water to carry the vines through the growing cycle.

    • A warm summer with ideal diurnal shifts provided even and optimal ripening.

VENETO:​

  • Prosecco had near perfect conditions, an excellent vintage.
  • Valpolicella had a heavy storm causing vineyard damages and reduced yields.

 

NEW ZEALAND:

An outstanding vintage despite drought-like conditions.

Overall production is up 6.4% from 2019 with 329 million hectoliters and 39,935 total producing hectares.

Sauvignon Blanc leads production in 74% off total volume followed by Pinot Noir (8%), Pinot Gris (6.5%), Chardonnay (6%), Merlot (2.5%), Riesling (1%), Syrah (1%), then Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Gris, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Grüner Veltliner, Semillon, Albariño, Muscat, Arenis, and Pinotage (all less than 1% each).

Sources: NZ Wine Annual Report, Villa Maria, Mt. Beautiful, Shout NZ, Oamaru NZ, Quartz Reef

AUCKLAND: <1% of total 2020 production.

  • Exceptional vintage.

CENTRAL OTAGO:​ 1.9% of total 2020 production.

  • Spring frosts and hail damage reduced yields.

  • A cooler vintage with higher cloud cover and rainfall than average but overall a high quality vintage.

GISBOURNE: 4.3% of total 2020 production.

  • Warmer than average resulting in harvest up to 2 weeks early.

HAWKE'S BAY: 9.8% of total 2020 production.

  • Spring frosts and hail damage reduced yields but overall a classic vintage.

MARLBOROUGH: 77.7% of total 2020 production.

  • A cooler, dry season that resulted in an excellent vintage.

NELSON: 2.6% of total 2020 production.

  • A dry vintage with more volume than average, overall great quality.

NORTH CANTERBURY: 2.2% of total 2020 production.

  • An excellent, dry vintage that started about a week early than usual.

NORTHLAND: <1% of total 2020 production.

  • Excellent vintage.

WAIRARAPA: 1% of total 2020 production.

  • Warmer than average nights and drought conditions resulted in harvest being early, overall outstanding quality.

WAITAKI VALLEY: <1% of total 2020 production.

  • A dry, excellent vintage.​

 

PORTUGAL:

An early vintage showing high potential for quality.

Sources: Bloomberg, Wine Industry Advisor, 2020 Harvest Report

ALENTEJO:

  • A challenging vintage due to spring rains causing some mildew issues and leafhopper attacks in June.

  • A hot, dry summer resulted in harvest starting roughly one week earlier than usual.

  • Heat tolerant varieties are showing best. 

DÃO:

  • Spring frost damaged vineyards and reduced yields by roughly 25%.

  • Spring rains increased disease pressure in the vineyard.

DOURO:

  • A mild winter resulted in bud break occurring two to three weeks early.

  • Spring rains increased disease pressure in the vineyard.

  • Record summer temperatures resulted in raisination of grapes.

  • Disease pressure and dried berries reduced yields by up to 40%.​

  • One of the earliest harvests on record. 

  • Traditional foot treading was not performed this year due to COVID restrictions. 

    • The first time at Quinta do Vesuvio since 1827.​

VINHO VERDE:

  • A mild winter resulted in bud break occurring roughly two weeks early.

  • A hot vintage with harvest starting roughly one week earlier than usual.

  • Night harvesting was common to help retain freshness.

 

SOUTH AFRICA:

Overall very high quality with slightly smaller production than average. 

Source: WOSA 2020 Harvest Report

BREEDEKLOOF 

  • Overall great quality with higher production than 2019.

CAPE SOUTH COAST 

  • Modernization of viticulture helped increase yields this vintage, overall great quality.

KLEIN KAROO 

  • Drought issues hindered the crop this year with smaller than typical yields. Overall great quality.

NORTHERN CAPE 

  • Frost damage resulted in heavy crop losses this vintage.

OLIFANTS RIVER REGION

  • Great vintage due to drought relief from sufficient water sources for irrigation and lack of typical heat spikes.

PAARL

  • Great vintage due to sufficient water sources for irrigation and lack of typical heat spikes.

ROBERTSON

  • A challenging vintage due to drought issues, wind during fruit set, and rain resulting in a smaller than typical crop. 

STELLENBOSCH

  • Moderate temperatures and well time rain helped make this a great vintage.

SWARTLAND

  • Larger yields than typical due to optimal conditions and water reserves replenished by winter rains.

WORCESTER

  • Overall good quality and larger production than typical.

 

SPAIN:

A challenging, early vintage with mildew pressures.

The government paid farmers to green harvest to reduce yields due to excess inventory from a shortage in sales.

Sources: Bloomberg, Wine Industry Advisor, 2020 Spanish Vintage

PENEDES:

  • Heavy spring rains caused mildew issues and reduced yields by up to 65%. 

PRIORAT:

  • Heavy rainfall in winter and spring (600mm) caused mildew issues and reduced yields by up to 35%.

  • A warm, dry summer with minimal diurnal shifts created a short growing season.

RIAS BAIXAS:

  • Increased yields (6%) and a favorable growing season.

  • Mildew is more common in the region so was not as impactful as the rest of Spain.

  • Looking to be a great vintage with elevated aromatics and acidity.

RIBERA DEL DUERO:

  • A warm winter resulted in an early bud break.

  • Heavy spring rains caused mildew issues and reduced yields.

  • Quality will be determined by viticulture and vinification methods.

RIOJA:

  • Yields were limited by the Consejo due to large wine reserves.

  • Heavy rainfall resulted in mildew issues throughout Rioja Alavesa and Alta.

  • High temperatures caused some dehydration, sunburn, and advanced ripening. 

  • Quality will be determined by viticulture and vinification methods.

 

UNITED STATES:

A vintage of fire and smoke taint threats on the west and a hot, dry, high quality vintage in the east.  

Sources: Wine Industry AdvisorBloomberg, NY Veraison to HarvestWillamette Wines 2020 Harvest Report,

Oregon Wine Press, Seattle Times

CALIFORNIA:

  • Northern California suffered from a vintage of heat spikes and devastating fires.

    • Mendocino 

      • High quality vintage with lower yields (10-30%) due to smaller berries​.

      • Some vineyards suffered from smoke taint. 

    • Napa Valley

      • A mild winter with roughly half the average amount of rainfall creating smaller berries.

      • An ideal start to the growing season was disrupted by summer heat spikes and multiple fires.

      • Harvest began 1-2 weeks early.

      • The Boysen, Glass, and Shady fires (sources: Current Articles and suppliers) affected many:

        • Wineries Affected​

          • Behrens Family Winery (winery)

          • Bremer Family Winery (vineyard)

          • Burgess Cellars (winery and barrel warehouse)

          • Cain Vineyard and Winery (winery)

          • Castello di Amorosa (cellar)

          • Chateau Boswell (winery)​

          • Dutch Henry (winery)

          • Eeden Vineyards (vineyard)

          • Fairwinds Estate (winery)

          • Flying Lady Winery and Estate (winery)

          • Hourglass (Blueline vineyard and winery)

          • Merus (production building and equipment)

          • Newton (winery)

          • Paloma Vineyards (winery)

          • Ritchie Creek Vineyard (winery)

          • Sherwin Family Vinyeards (winery)

          • Spring Mountain Vineyard (vineyards)

          • Tofanelli Family Vineyard (vineyards)

          • Tuck Beckstoffer (vineyards)

        • Historic Properites Affected:

          • Black Rock Inn

          • Calistoga Ranch

          • The Restaurant at Meadowood​

        • Wineries reported to not produce a 2020 vintage:

          • Cade​

          • Colgin

          • Joseph Phelps

          • Lamborn Family Vineyards

          • Metaphora

          • Neil Vineyards

          • Opus One

          • Rudd

          • Shafer

          • Somerston Winery

    • Sonoma

      • A mild winter with minimal rain resulted in smaller berries plus spring frosts lowered yields.

      • 25-30% of grapes were not harvested due to fires and the pandemic. 

  • Central California 

    • Lodi 

      • A challenging vintage due to summer heat spikes and possible smoke taint.

      • Heat tolerant grape varieties are showing well.

    • Sierra Foothills​ had a favorable growing season and looking to be a high quality vintage.

  • ​Central Coast California

    • Santa Barbara:

      • A cool spring and mild summer offered a long, even growing season projected to be high quality.

      • Very little to no direct impact from heat spikes and fires common throughout the state.

    • Paso Robles:​​

      • Harvest began roughly 10 days early due to record heat spikes in August and September.

      • Minimal smoke taint issues.

      • Yields were down 10-30%​.

  • Southern California

    • Temecula

      • A challenging vintage with heavy rains in April causing mildew issues.

      • Summer heat spikes resulting in raisination and sunburned grapes. 

NEW YORK:

  • High quality vintage with lower than average yields.

    • Higher than average temperatures with dry, sunny weather. 

    • Lower disease pressure and smaller berry size than average due to minimal rainfall.

    • Slow, steady rainfall (1"to 3") at harvest slowed ripening and provided much needed moisture.

OREGON

  • A challenging high quality, low quantity vintage.

  • A mild winter, dry and sunny spring, a cooler than average summer.

  • Rain during flowering caused up to a 40% crop reduction.

  • Fires in the Cascade Mountains created blankets of smoke in the vineyards during harvest.

    • ​Some Willamette Valley grapes were affected by smoke taint​.

    • The Almeda fire destroyed vineyards and Simple machine Winery in Southern Oregon.​

WASHINGTON

  • Looking to be a great year despite challenges.

    • Lower yields (roughly 25%) due to frost damage from 2019.

    • Wildfires during harvest threaten grapes with smoke taint. 

      • Betz Family Winery will not make a 2020 vintage​