2022 will go down in history as a year of surprises from a climate point of view. It was the year that the Pinhão weather station, in the heart of the Douro, registered the highest temperature on record on Wednesday,13 July, 47 degrees Celsius!
The vineyard demonstrated resilience in the face of the heatwave that ravaged the country, but production naturally suffered. 2022, however, remains a positive year. The fruit arriving at the winery exhibited good quality, thus justifying our high expectations for the wines developing in the winery.
The results achieved, on the other hand, endorse the quality of the decisions made in the approach to winemaking over the year. They reflect the team's efficiency, which has remained unchanged over the years, granting excellent responsiveness at the pivotal moment of the grape harvest. The team was able to complete harvesting operations in the time allowed (thanks to the interruption caused by the rains in September, the harvest period ended up being the shortest since 2018).
Let's look at 2022 in more detail:
It was a fairly uncharacteristic year from a climate point of view, as it was very dry and hot. The average temperatures were consistently higher than in previous years. What's more, the country experienced severe drought for an extended period. As a result, the vineyard suffered and showed a loss of vigour in some plots, especially in the newer vines. July and August were also atypical at the Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias. There is no recollection of heatwaves like this year's, in which even night temperatures remained relatively high, with daily temperatures of 42 ºC and overnight temperatures of 35 ºC on many days in July and August.
Subsequently, September began hot and dry, but week 37 brought rain.
The vine cycle
Compared to 2021, the bud break happened roughly the same time, but the veraison began earlier. In terms of maturation, the Tinta Roriz variety was the one that demonstrated less stable behaviour, displaying some inconsistencies in the development of the bunches. The dry year brought less pressure regarding downy mildew but did not prevent the risk of powdery mildew spread – happily, this was well controlled and without significant disease cases.
Generally, when the time for harvesting arrived, the grapes were in good health, both before and after the rains in September, which is a testament to the excellent winemaking practices implemented. The harvest started two weeks earlier than in 2021, on 30 August, and ended a month later, on 29 October. Production decreased by 26%, although the fruit that entered the winery displayed good quality, creating positive expectations for the new wines.