A time of grape harvesting festivities

Let’s taste the local specialty, burčiak, a slightly fermented grape juice at vinobranie.

Vinobranie in PezinokVinobranie in Pezinok (Source: TASR)

“I would compare this year to the record year of 2000. Even in that year there was hot weather, but in contrast to the current year, there was a water shortage,” said prominent winemaker Vladimír Mrva from the winery Mrva & Stanko, when assessing the wine-growing season so far. “However, it is too early to assess the current wine harvest season. Autumn will be decisive, especially September.”

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This year’s very hot summer caused the grapes to ripen two to three weeks earlier. The result is that the grapes have a relatively high sugar content and lack acidity. Nevertheless, Mrva believes the timely harvesting makes it possible to achieve harmonious wine.

“Winegrowers and winemakers have learned a lesson from the previous hot years and they know now when to harvest grapes in a good technological maturity,” said Mrva, adding that when assessing maturity of grapes winegrowers should not only look at the sugar content but at other parameters, especially PH and acid content.

This year looks very good for blue varieties and white varieties that mature later.

“If September is warm and, more importantly, dry, and there will not be a significant increase in precipitation, this year has all the attributes of making a very good vintage,” said Mrva.

The winemaker Braňo Bahna from Vinocentrum in Svätý Jur close to Bratislava confirmed the three-week advance in the ripening of grapes. Not only early varieties, but Müller-Thurgau, Veltlín or Dunaj varieties ripened at the end of August. This week they are harvesting Riesling. As for the quality of the future wine, it is necessary to preserve the acidity of the grapes.

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“The mastery of a winemaker lies in the proper timing of the harvesting of individual varieties, and the winemaker must know beforehand what kind of wine he/she wants to produce,” said Bahna.

Martin Hrubala, the director of the Malokarpatské Museum in Pezinok, said that last week’s rains have not harmed the grapes so far. But if there is more precipitation, it may worsen the quality of the grapes. It will reduce the sugar content and the grapes may start growing mold.

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