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home:: LEARN ABOUT RIOJA:: Harvests:: 1999

Harvests

1999 HARVEST

Official vintage rating: "GOOD".

Volume of wine approved: 215.34 million litres.

- Red wine: 187.51 million litres.
- White wine: 12.25 million litres
- Rosé wine: 15.58 million litres.

The growth cycle of the 1999 vintage benefited from good augusting in the previous year and sufficient rainfall during the winter, resulting in very good budding. The grapevines developed nicely until 16 April, when a deep frost affected a large part of the vineyards within the Wine region. Only in very high areas, with altitudes above 500 m, were they less affected. This frost became a determining factor in the harvest, affecting both the development of the growth cycle and the final yield. Fortunately, the vines recovered their foliage soon after the frost, although production was irregularly affected, depending on vine age, vigour and grape variety.

Budding was irregular and the number and size of clusters varied enormously. Setting was good in all cases and the grapes were generally healthy until veraison, which began late with the irregularity which had resulted from the spring frost. These differences became less pronounced as the summer drew to an end and, by harvest time, ripeness levels were good and relatively uniform.

Harvest took place between 15 September and the last week in October. Unstable weather forced the grape growers to stagger the harvest, with later picking of grapes from areas which had been affected by the April frost. Although years with major weather incidents usually result in a wide range of qualities, the health and ripeness levels of the grapes arriving at the bodegas was quite acceptable. A significant part of the harvest had good alcohol potential and high polyphenol contents -ideal conditions for quality wines to be aged in casks. The harvest volume -305 million kilograms- was approximately three quarters that of the previous year and below the sales figures for 1998.

The Control Board's official rating of GOOD is consistent with the irregular weather -with frost in April and rain in September- which affected the vines' development and resulted in varied qualities, although with a significant percentage of wines ideally suited for ageing.

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