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Spanish producers navigate a challenging and demanding 2023 vintage Photo: Amaya Cervera


Spanish producers navigate a challenging and demanding 2023 vintage

Amaya Cervera | December 19th, 2023

The OIV reports that world wine production in 2023 will be the smallest in the last 60 years, due to extremely low volumes in the southern hemisphere and significant reductions in major producers in the northern hemisphere, notably Spain, Italy and Greece. Although Spain remains the world's third largest producer after France and Italy, the OIV estimates that wine production will barely reach 30.7 million hectolitres. Spanish trade magazine La Semana Vitivinícola expects the final figure for wine and must to be around 34 million hectolitres.

The decline is caused by the extreme drought in many regions, in particular Catalonia (-34%), Extremadura (-25%), Aragon (-21%) and Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha (both -20%). In contrast, the Canary Islands (14%), Galicia (12%) and La Rioja (10%) recorded positive growth.

The factors with the greatest impact were probably the cumulative drought in many areas (2022 was a dry, warm year), a long heatwave at the end of August, followed by rain with varying intensity, which helped in some cases but also disrupted the final stages of ripening and plunged many growers into a rollercoaster of a harvest.

Eduardo García (Mauro group), who completed his 22nd harvest this year, sums up the growing uncertainty faced by producers: "Viticulture cannot be static, you have to adapt, find tools, work with different grape varieties... From an oenological point of view, it's the same: recipes no longer work. We are faced with new challenges every year: heavy rains, heatwaves, mildew...".

In our conversations with producers across Spain, we have not only asked for their views on the harvest, but also for their thoughts on the growing challenges they must confront both in the vineyard and in the winery.


The situation was very different to the rest of Spain because of the abundant rainfall. It rained heavily from the end of the 2022 harvest until February. Mild winter temperatures led to early budding, then rainfall in May triggered fungal diseases. Once again, mildew caused problems in many regions of Galicia. The rains also affected picking.

In Ribeiro, 2023 wasn't as warm as 2022, although the heatwaves in July and August had a negative impact on the young vines, explains Dominique Roujou, who is a consultant in several regions of Galicia, including Viña Meín and Emilio Rojo in Ribeiro, where he helped produce the earliest vintage ever recorded in the appellation. According to the French winemaker, the lower-yielding vines benefited from early ripening, allowing the grapes to be harvested before the rains. "The first torrential rains affected the Mediterranean and central regions of Spain, but they finally hit Galicia in the second and third weeks of September, leading to the formation of botrytis in Ribeira Sacra, Rías Baixas and Ribeiro regions," he points out. He believes that the grape growing practices in Galicia are just as important as the climatic conditions of the vintage.

Rías Baixas, in fact, had a record harvest: just over 44.3 million kg (8.44% more than in 2022), with an average yield of 9,877 kg/ha, according to the DO's Regulatory Board. This is much higher than the 8,600 kg/ha average of the last decade. The sub-zone with the highest reduction was Condado do Tea. As for the wines, Rodolfo Bastida of Mar de Frades (Ramón Bilbao group) says that in Salnés the whites are well defined and slightly diluted ("there is not much malic acid this year"), with probably less cellaring potential. In Rosal, Julio Saénz of Lagar de Cervera (La Rioja Alta group) finds less alcohol and more freshness. "It's a pretty good vintage; it won't be excellent, but it has good aromatic intensity," he says.

In Valdeorras, Rafa Palacios (As Sortes) reports a year of mild temperatures. After an early budding, the vines escaped late frosts and rain during flowering, but had to cope with the heatwave at the end of August (it was an early harvest, but not as early as the extremely hot 2022) and heavy rainfall in the third week of September. This, combined with the high temperatures, forced the team to work hard to control botrytis. The overall impression, however, is positive: "Unlike 2022, we had cool nights and the quality is good, with balanced pH and acidity. The vintage is similar to 2019, which was neither cold nor hot, and the rain wasn't dramatic. The quantity was also good," he says.

In Ribeira Sacra, Fernando González Riveiro from Algueira describes a very labour-intensive harvest. " From June there was no rest given the generous yields. We had to do as many as three green harvests so that the vines had the right amount of fruit to ripen, as well as meticulously removing the leaves to prevent the sun from damaging the Godello. In the case of Merenzao, thinning was close to 50%." The summer was very hot and dry, and the rains came at the wrong time to complicate the harvest, which was not easy given the very different growing cycles of the varieties grown at Algueira. This year they harvested in double shifts, in the morning and in the afternoon. After the hard work, the results are positive: "We have decent pH levels, good balance and the rain brought some freshness. The fuller-bodied, more mature wines come from Doade, to the south," explains González Riveiro.


The weather was much like in Galicia, with plenty of rain throughout the growing season, but probably short of the 750 litres of an average year, and with a fairly dry summer, according to César Márquez, who makes wine at Castro Ventosa, the family winery, and runs his own project. Marquez points out that 2023 was peculiar in that Godello was harvested before Mencia, even though the latter has a shorter cycle. The harvest was done in several stages. The first grapes to be picked were those affected by the heatwave at the end of August, but when the rain arrived, the harvest was staggered. "At that point we started to get more fluid profiles," points out Márquez.

In his opinion, the 2023 is better than the 2022, a vintage marred by heat and drought: "The 2023s are more floral and have more depth. As I tend to harvest early, the alcohol content is between 12.7% and 13.2%". Márquez adds that in Valtuille, where he has most of his vineyards, wet, cool vintages are better, while in the upper mountain areas, where ripening is slower and there are more white grapes, harvests are much more regular.


At Itsasmendi (Bizkaiko Txakolina), Garikoitz Ríos experienced one of its most complicated harvests, also on an emotional level, as a very promising harvest in August was cut short by rain. Despite a few isolated incidents (a light frost, a few cases of downy mildew and the heat of August, which burnt some berries), the summer was quite cool. "In August the vines were greener than ever, but at the beginning of September it started to rain heavily [just under 300 litres] and it was also very hot. The early ripening plots did not suffer much damage, but those we usually harvest in the second week suffered a 40% loss; the late-ripening plots were less affected".

According to Ríos, this is also a vintage with small bunches and unusually high pH levels for the area (around 3.30); the freshness comes from the herbal nuances, not from the acidity. "The quality is good and we have some outstanding batches, but not the wines I had in mind in August. There was also an unexpected problem: "Asian wasps eat the pulp, leaving the berries empty and creating wounds that cause acid rot."


The producers we spoke to were very open about the vintage. Many of them are coming to the conclusion that they will not make any top wines this vintage. In addition to the heatwave at the end of August and the rains during harvest, hail affected large areas of San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Rioja Oriental.

Ramón Bilbao's vineyards on the Yerga mountain were hit twice by hail. According to director Rodolfo Bastida, this year's drought had more to do with the heat at the end of the cycle (he describes it as a "hairdryer effect") and the way the different varieties performed. Garnacha worked much better (it closes the stomata and develops well eventually) than Tempranillo, which lost a lot of leaves and suffered dehydration before completing the cycle. "Fruit set was good due to the good weather in June, but there was not enough canopy to allow the grapes to ripen, even after thinning out the bunches. Extreme events are becoming more frequent. "The rainfall is the same [around 360 mm in Yerga and 460 mm in Haro this year], but it is torrential, with very dry periods in between; the seasons are becoming diluted". The group owns 255 hectares of vineyards in Yerga (Rioja Oriental) and several villages in Rioja Alta and Alavesa, such as San Asensio, Briones, Villalva, Cuzcurrita, San Vicente, Ábalos and Labastida.

In terms of wine chemistry, Bastida reports the highest gluconic indexes in recent years (gluconic is an indicator of the extent to which grapes are affected by fungi and rot precursors), which suggests that the wines will be lighter in colour and more unstable. For this reason, Ramón Bilbao will repeat the strategy of 2003, 2007 and 2017, producing a small quantity of Reserva, Gran Reserva and premium wines and concentrating on the Crianza category.

Julio Sáenz from La Rioja Alta shares many of these feelings. "The upper areas of San Vicente and Villalba have been damaged by hail and ripening has been poor. In Rioja Alta, which is our central area, the high temperatures have resulted in reduced acidity and high alcohol levels. Some vines were blocked and ripening was achieved by concentration, resulting in green tannins and high malic acid. With the exception of a small batch that could become a Gran Reserva, we don't have any wine suitable for long ageing. We may only make Viña Alberdi, so this wine will benefit from the grapes normally destined for our Gran Reserva reds 890 and 904 and the Tempranillo from Viña Ardanza. The Garnacha for Viña Ardanza, which comes from the Pedriza site in Tudelilla (Rioja Oriental), has suffered from "too much sun and too much heat."

Sáenz pointed to the curse of vintages ending in "3": while 2003 was extremely hot and 2013 was cold and rainy, 2023 lacks Rioja's typicity because of the scorching temperatures during the ripening process and the absence of cool nights to offset the heat. "We can't make Gran Reserva reds without acidity and balance. It's not a question of adding tartaric acid, but of ensuring that the wine has the kind of freshness that can be perceived through the aromas and flavours."

The best grapes in 2023 came from higher areas of Rioja Alavesa, particularly the villages of Kripan and Elvillar, where the group has acquired a significant number of old vineyards through Torre de Oña, its winery in the area, and where the heat was less suffocating. The Graciano grapes also ripened well, retaining their characteristic deep colour and acidity as a result of their long ripening cycle.

Lauren Rosillo of Finca Valpiedra (Fuenmayor) confirms the trend in central Rioja. Although they didn't have any crop losses or botrytis problems, the rain during the harvest diluted the grapes and prevented them from achieving the necessary parameters to produce quality wines. "Although I've set aside 40,000 litres to follow its evolution, all the wines may end up in Cantos de Valpiedra Crianza; we won't be making Petra de Valpiedra [a red Garnacha] either."

Navarra and Aragón

Following an early budbreak, Navarra experienced the earliest harvest in its history (even earlier than 2022). It began on 14 August in Ribera Baja and Ribera Alta with the harvest of Chardonnay and Moscatel de Grano Menudo (Muscat-à-petit-grains). Production was lower due to the drought and torrential rains, which hit the Baja Montaña sub-zone particularly hard. According to David Palacios, president of the DO, the drought also affected the northern sub-zones. The winter and spring were very dry, except for a few rains in the transition to summer, then very dry again until the rains started at harvest time.

"In many cases we had to give priority to healthy grapes over other criteria," Palacios points out. The best performing variety was Garnacha. In the areas most affected by the drought, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot have suffered greatly. "This year there will be marked differences between the various sub-zones, but also between plots. The irrigated vineyards [there are a significant number of hectares that use water from the Canal de Navarra] have reached full maturity," he adds.

According to Adriana Ochoa of Bodegas Ochoa, whose vineyards are largely in Traibuenas (Ribera Alta), the rain helped with the final stages of ripening. "There is not much colour, but we have pleasant, aromatic wines with good acidity. She was surprised that a similarly scorching year as 2017 resulted in high pHs and high alcohol levels, while 2023, perhaps because some of the plants were blocked, finished with moderate alcohol (around 12.5% abv) and good pH, even for Tempranillo, which was around 3.5. However, like her Rioja neighbours, she does not see good conditions for cellaring. Adriana believes that organic farming helped the vines to recover well from the two hailstorms they suffered. Mechanical harvesting was very useful in the selection process, she adds, as the grapes that were not in good condition were left on the plant.

In Aragón, Fernando Mora (Frontonio) describes a year of sharp contrasts in which, once again, the formulas did not work: "We had a very dry spring, with some rain at the end, drought during the ripening season and some life-saving rain before the harvest [especially for the whites, which were picked in a very short time window]. Budbreak was delayed and the cycle was shorter. The rains in September played a key role because they allowed us to wait for the best plots, we finished the harvest in the most elevated areas around 4-5 October." In between, they had to deal with vines that were slow to sprout, others that were stuck in their growth or small shoots. Once again, Garnacha (white and red) proved to be the most resilient variety.

With a 20 % drop in production, the sorting strategy to avoid raisined grapes was even more draconian than in 2022. "We picked the north and south sides of the vineyards separately, and in some cases we even sorted the grapes in three passes. In the winery, it was not uncommon for four people to work for three hours on a batch of 500 kg. The final stage of selection is done during the treading. The person who treads is responsible for what goes into the vat," explains Mora. In terms of winemaking, although they continue to ferment all their reds with 100% whole bunches, they have reduced the number of macerations and the length of time in the vat has been reduced to 40-70 days (other vintages can exceed 100 days). "We have floral, herbal wines at 13-13.5% abv; now it remains to be seen how they will develop, but the Garnacha from Las Iguales reminds me of 2018, which together with 2019 were very aromatic vintages," Mora points out.

Duero Valley

Eduardo García (Mauro group) points out that it was not a particularly dry year, but that the scorching heat at the end of August caused many plants to collapse, so that when the rains came they used the water to recover themselves rather than to nourish the bunches. This meant that in many cases the potential alcohol dropped rather than increased.

In terms of regions, he believes Toro is the most resilient to climate change and the one that has stood up best to the heat. The quality of the grapes harvested in early September, before the rains, was better than those harvested afterwards. The perception is similar for Mauro and Garmón, in VT Castilla y León and Ribera del Duero respectively, with slightly diluted batches after the rain. "It's not a bad year, I'd say it's quite normal, I'd give it a 6. The only handicap is that the acidity has been diluted because of the heavy rains."

In Áster, Julio Saénz (La Rioja Alta Group) has similar feelings. "El Otero, which was the first vineyard we harvested, is less affected by the excessive heat. El Espino has been more difficult because of the lack of freshness. The rains in September didn't make things better. There is a little more alcohol and less acidity than in 2022; for us it is a warmer year, the heatwaves had a greater impact. For us, it is more of a Mediterranean year than a continental one. But the quality is not bad."

Among those who work with varieties other than Tempranillo, Eduardo García points out that Garnacha is doing well in Toro and Tudela de Duero, while Syrah is starting to struggle with climate change. It is also clear to them that bush vines tolerate the heat better.

At Abadía Retuerta, an estate in the Duero Valley with considerable varietal diversity, the differences in budbreak due to the high temperatures in April and the subsequent frosts lasted until the end of the cycle, causing some paradoxes such as the fact that some Tempranillo grapes were harvested later than Petit Verdot, the variety with the longest ripening cycle. Here, however, they were more fortunate with the September rains.

In Rueda the mood is much more optimistic. "Despite being a dry and hot year, the rains in June and during the harvest were good for the plants; I think it will be a great vintage for Finca Montepedroso," says Lauren Rosillo of Familia Martínez Bujanda group, who nevertheless reports a 40% drop in production.
Rodolfo Bastida of Ramón Bilbao also highlights the benefits of the rains. "The grapes that were harvested before were a little dehydrated, but we stopped for a few days and the quality improved a lot," he points out.

At Marqués de Riscal, Luis Hurtado de Amézaga reports a short harvest, largely due to the heatwave in the last week of August, which accelerated the ripening of Sauvignon Blanc. "The wines are a little less intense on the nose, with moderate acidity," he says. "Verdejo is more rustic and has coped better with the high temperatures; old vineyards on classic terraced soils with pebbles have produced good balance and good varietal character." Interestingly, he also notes that the irrigated vineyards resulted in fresher and more aromatic wines. For Hurtado de Amézaga, 2023 was a healthy vintage with fewer mildew problems, even for organic growers like them. As for grape prices, he points to a downward trend: "The market is still unbalanced, despite the good pace of sales."

Castilla-La Mancha

Elías López Montero of Verum (Tomelloso, Ciudad Real) told us that he refused to set the precedent of harvesting in July, so he waited until 1 August. He is really worried about earlier and earlier harvests. The growing season in 2023 was significantly shorter, resulting in less aromatic wines but good palates when the grapes were harvested at the right time. "Heatwaves make you think of the worst, but afterwards you are surprised to find that the finished wines are quite good, although you have to be extremely vigilant". Elías's strategy in recent years has been to harvest earlier in order to have fresher wines, and to rely on longer ageing on the lees to compensate for the lack of structure. "In our area we can't really talk about fresh years, but if it's very hot and I harvest early, I have less alcohol," he points out.

Elsewhere in Castilla-La Mancha, Lauren Rosillo of Finca Antigua (Cuenca) reports a 50% drop, with whites performing better than reds. In Villarrobledo (Albacete), Bernardo Ortega confirms that the year was marked by scorching heat throughout the growing season, which in the case of Airén resulted in poor fruit set, with vegetative dormancy in the summer and leaf loss, which delayed ripening. In terms of quality, however, he notes that Airén and Bobal did quite well - they are best adapted to these conditions - compared to Syrah, which did not ripen well and was left with slightly green seeds. Ortega also warns about the vines, especially the old ones, which are dying from lack of water.


"Expectations in Penedès were so bad after a spring without a drop of water in the third year of drought that we are happier than expected," says Josep Sabarich, technical director at Familia Torres. To illustrate the situation, their iconic Mas La Plana vineyard registered barely 180 litres of rainfall by harvest time, compared to an annual average of 500-550 litres. Production of this red will be significantly reduced and more stainless steel, concrete and larger oak vats will be used in the ageing process. In general, they risked an earlier harvest to avoid the loss of acidity in the white grapes and didn't wait for the skins of the red grapes to be fully ripe to avoid the effect of stewed fruit.

Also in Penedès, sparkling wine producer Recaredo recorded 267 litres compared to the historical average of 520 litres, reported lower yields (an average of just over 4,500 kg/ha) and pointed to rapid ripening and the phenomenon of concentration that occurs in warm years, resulting in relatively low pH levels.

Priorat was another critical area, but it is important to distinguish between the lower villages facing the Ebro, which were much more affected by the drought, and those that face the Montsant, which benefited from rainfall between mid-May and the beginning of June (150 litres in Poboleda, according to Mas Doix; see graph below). This helped the vines to cope in a year that, along with 2022, was one of the hottest on record. "The cumulative effective temperature on 1 October was over 2,300ºC, while the rest of the vintages are all below 2,200ºC and the average is 2,050ºC," reads the harvest report.

At Scala Dei, Ricard Rofes admits that the situation is worrying after two and a half years of extreme drought: "For the first time we started harvesting in August and finished in September; this year we have seen old vineyards suffer badly. We are fortunate to have vineyards at higher elevations [most of them on the Montsant mountain] on clay soils, which helps to delay the cycle. The June rains helped here, but not in the lower areas. We harvested had two thirds of a normal crop". In terms of quality, "the grapes were very healthy, but tas they ripened faster the wines are structured and a little more vegetal. They are certainly fruit-driven, but feel less round than 2019 or 2021, the last great vintages in the area," he explains.

In this context, the decision was made to harvest crisper grapes and to carry out short macerations at lower temperatures. In order to use whole bunches, they had to look for higher vineyards: 650 metres compared to 500 metres in the past. According to Rofes, the future lies in growing on higher ground, delaying pruning to lengthen the cycle, or avoiding thinning out the shoots to shade the bunches. Familia Torres supports this approach: in Tossals in Porrera, their highest vineyard at 750 metres, both Garnacha and Cariñena have performed beautifully.

Marta Rovira's experience at Mas d'en Gil, a long-standing biodynamic property in Bellmunt del Priorat, to the south of the region, is really interesting. Here the young vines have withstood the lack of water better than the older ones, which she attributes to the work done to encourage stronger, firmly rooted vines. "When you have living soils, four or five litres of water means a lot. But it's not just about water, it's about how we look after the soil and how we prune to keep the sap flowing," she remarks. With no rain, it was a year of high humidity, the soil was left untouched to avoid drying it out, and a great deal of selection was required. "The berries were smaller than usual, but the acidity was higher because of the concentration," explains Marta. It was also their earliest harvest: "We finished on the 8th of September."

In Conca de Barberà, the drought was less worrying, according to Josep Sabarich. In fact, Milmanda Chardonnay was harvested at 12.6% abv. One of the lessons he has learnt in recent years is that "irrigation should be seen as a tool, not to increase yields, but to alleviate dry years". This is the type of supplemental irrigation they use at their Purgatori estate in Costers del Segre, which enables them to obtain yields of 4,000 to 5,000 kg/ha.


In Requena (Valencia), Toni Sarrión reports a sharp drop in production due to drought and hail. Whereas in 2022 they lost 20% of their crop, in 2023 they are 40% down on the previous year. Finca Terrerazo is expected to produce half of its standard production. "I have tried to remove all the unsuitable grapes from the meagre amount we have, picking early and concentrating on medium-sized Bobal bunches," he says. Things went better at Finca Calvestra, a high-elevation estate focused on white wines - by 2023 there will be more whites than reds - where they nevertheless set a record by starting their earliest harvest ever on 2 August.

He looks further ahead: "There is a lot to think about in terms of farming. The best performers this year were the old vines planted in cooler areas and the dry-farmed, low-density Bobal. Twenty years ago we were moving away from vigorous rootstocks, but now I wish I had more of that. In terms of grape varieties, Bobal and Merseguera were the best this year. Syrah, which used to add finesse to our wines, doesn't work so well anymore. Another ridiculous variety to grow in south-east Spain is Tempranillo: it dehydrates quickly, loses acidity and has a very high pH. I have grubbed up almost 30 hectares so far. All these plantings from the 70s, 80s and 90s are a complete disaster."

In Alicante, Pepe Mendoza is more optimistic, especially when compared to 2022, which saw suffocating heat and very warm nights. The plants started the season with no water reserves and a 40% drop in yield during flowering. The 140 litres of rain in May and the moisture from the sea enabled the vines to cope well with the summer drought. "We have reached the end of the cycle in good condition, with firm basal leaves. We have small berries and round wines, the fruit is shiny and not tired," he explains. Mendoza also notes that the dry-farmed vineyards have performed better than the irrigated plots and that the local varieties have clearly outperformed the international grapes. In his view, 2023 does not share the profile of warm vintages, which are "less lively and have a shorter life."

In Jumilla (Murcia), Elena Pacheco, from Viña Elena and Bruma del Estrecho says her vineyards are used to living on the little water they get. "The problem was the heatwaves and the lack of thermal amplitude. The rains at the end of May saved the vintage, as they favoured budding and indicated a delayed growing cycle. We harvested 10 to 12 days later than average," she says. Production was down by 35%, especially in the lower, warmer area where much of her family's vineyards are located. 

"The ripening process was complex because there was a lot of unbalanced acidity and high pH levels; in the end we understood that the cycle was longer and we managed to achieve a certain balance at 14 to 14.5% abv, without dehydration and with some tension in the fruit. This year there will be more vegetal notes in the warmer areas," she adds. Her strategy with these grapes is to age them in concrete. "It's incredible how clean it is as a material, the way the wines open up and the fruit shows through; plus the cationic exchange allows the pH to be maintained; the wines are much more protected."

As for her views on the future, she points out that vineyards need to be regenerated gradually, with careful consideration given to where and how they are planted. She is moving towards productive rootstocks and north-facing or shaded sites. Where this is not possible, white soils with a thick layer of stones help to retain moisture. Her favourite grape varieties for the future are Monastrell and Garnacha.


The drought has had a major impact in Andalusia. In Montilla, Fátima Ceballos, of Lagar de la Salud, describes a spring with enough rain to encourage good fruit set, then many challenges for the plant to ripen the entire crop in a context of drought and high temperatures. "It was the earliest harvest I have seen since I moved to Montilla and the most complicated. We had to be very careful about when to pick, as things changed quickly from one day to the next," she explains. Despite these difficulties, the wines have exceeded expectations. Ceballos defines 2023 as "a vintage full of concentration and, hopefully, with an unmistakable, powerful and resilient character, just like this year."

In Jerez, Willy Pérez (Bodegas Luis Pérez and De La Riva), reported a 12% increase, but this was below expectations and demand, resulting in grape prices rising to €1.20. The weather was more favourable than in 2022 (450 litres compared to the historical average of 570), but the plants were very weak compared to 2022. The high temperatures halted the ripening process, forcing the vines to wait until they reached a suitable alcohol content. Ramiro Ibáñez, Willy's partner at De la Riva and owner of Cota 45, added that the year was dry rather than warm, so tillage and soil moisture management were crucial. He distinguishes between the Palomino grapes harvested before the heatwave in the third week of August and those harvested after, which resulted in more rustic and oxidative wines.

Willy Pérez's strategy this year is as follows: "With little wood in the vines, the approach was very conservative. We removed the cover crop in February and did a short pruning, at the risk of losing a lot of grapes. This year there was very little asoleo (exposure of the grapes to the sun) because we already had sun-ripened grapes that were prone to oxidation. So we harvested early, trying to preserve finesse in a difficult year. The unfermented whites have a balanced palate, in line with 2022, but with more weight. This year we will age less under flor, as the veil of yeasts is not essential."

His general impression is that 2023 is lighter than 22, but perhaps more elegant and aromatic, although the wines will not show their true potential until spring. Willy also mentions full-bodied reds with complicated fermentations. Ibáñez, on the other hand, points out that it was a good year for oxidative varieties such as Perruno, Uva Rey or Mantúo.

In Málaga, in the Axarquía, Juan Muñoz from Dimobe reported a 60% drop in Moscatel due to abnormally high temperatures during flowering. In contrast, late budding varieties such as Pedro Ximénez, Doradilla, Romé and Garnacha were all within the standard. Drought ruled out fungal diseases, although green mosquitoes delayed ripening in some plots. "We were not able to make all styles of wine due to the lack of grapes, but we managed to make naturally sweet wines. It was also a good year for Vino Maestro [in this style alcohol is added before fermentation begins, so fermentation is slow and unfinished], but we had to do without Tierno [made from grapes exposed to the sun for a long time; fermentation is stopped by the addition of alcohol]. The wines are less floral but more concentrated, very good for ageing," he says.

In Ronda, Bibi García (Cortijo Los Aguilares) has similar feelings. She estimates a 40% loss compared to a regular year. "It rains very little and at the wrong time; 2020 was the last year with proper rain. This was the first winter in my 17 years at the winery that it didn't snow; the winter wasn't cold, which is so important for healthy plants," she points out. The berries were light and very small and yields were very low - Petit Verdot, for example, dropped to 2,000 kg/ha. "I was not able to make our saignée rosé or much young wine. Because of the high concentration, the wines are more suitable for ageing. The profile is much riper, so maceration times were shorter. Fortunately, pH levels are quite good, except for Tempranillo."


Jonatan García from Suertes del Marqués experienced the earliest harvest in the Orotava Valley (Tenerife), not only in terms of the starting date (30 July) but also the ending date (15 September, compared with four or five years ago when it could be extended to 5 November). 2023 was drier and warmer than average, with vineyards in the higher areas also ripening early, while yields in the lower areas fell by 20%. As for the wines, pH levels are slightly higher. The best performing variety in these conditions is Listán Blanco. There is also growing concern about the next harvest, especially for the traditional cordón trenzado trellising system, as the vines in some areas did not produce enough canes or they were shorter.

The weather in Gran Canaria, where he consults for Tamerán, the bodega owned by footballer David Silva, is warmer, but irrigation helps. Listán Blanco is adapting very well. 2023 was a very short harvest for white wines, but the reds made from Listán Negro, grown in the cooler northern area, show outstanding quality.


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