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DOCa Rioja agrees to freeze increase in vineyards in 2018




The agreement also includes restricting replanting authorisations once again for vineyards grubbed outside productive potential growth by replanting or converting rights from outside the territory of the Designation to be able to guarantee the continuity of its development model


The Control Board Plenary has agreed to freeze the increase in vineyards in the DOCa Rioja, limiting it to 0,1 hectares by 2018, thus postponing the decision of November 2015 that limited it to 387 new hectares, taking into account the 0.3% rise in sales from September 2016 to August 2017, until the entry into force of the new distribution criteria in 2019.

The agreement, applicable to 2018, envisages a minimum productive yield equivalent to 107% and grape-to-wine ratios of 72%, with the commitment to search, before 15 June 2018, and depending on sales performance, yields looking to reach the stock ratio set in 2015. 

The objective of this decision is none other than to defend the orderly growth of the Region’s vineyards as a whole, in order to meet market demands while assuaging the industry’s various stakeholders. This policy of limiting the increase in vineyard surface area in the D.O.Ca. Rioja aims to ensure the continuity of its model of sustainable development under the threat posed by the new vineyard planting authorisation system which came into effect in January 2016 after the last reform of the Wine CMO.

This threat is described in the conclusions of the ‘Study of vineyard surface growth possibilities in the D.O.Ca. Rioja’ , led by Emilio Barco and carried out by experts from the public universities of La Rioja, Basque Country and Navarre for the Control Board. According to the report, the current plantation authorisation system can lead to a significant risk of devaluation of the DOCa Rioja if the growth of the potential is not managed adequately, a risk that the Rioja wine sector seeks to protect against following the recommendations of the study. through the decisions taken within the Control Board. 

The Control Department reports that the total production obtained in the 2017 vintage amounted to 349.52 million kilos, from the 64,233 productive hectares of the DOCa Rioja, of which 310.46 million were red grapes and 39.06 million white. Of the total sum obtained, 118.53 million kg were picked in Rioja Alta, 69.07 in Rioja Alavesa and 161.92 in the easternmost area of Rioja.  

The Control Board Plenary values this year’s quality very positively, although the samples of this vintage will not be available until the first wines are devatted. Given the early harvest, this is also expected to occur earlier than usual. Likewise, despite the fact that this year’s harvest was 110 million kilos below last year’s, the industry trusts that it will serve to maintain stocks, a key factor in the development of Rioja and in assuring supply.