Wine production in the Algarve is estimated down by 20% – Expat Guide to Portugal
The president of the Algarve Wine Commission estimated that wine production this year should register a 20% drop compared to 2021, due to the drought and the heat, which prevented the normal development of the grape .
Speaking to reporters, Sara Silva said that until June her 50 growers’ expectations were for ‘growth’ after ‘a record year’ in 2021, but high temperatures and a lack of rain hampered growth of the grapes and the prospects for this growth. the harvest of the year is between 1,000,000 and 1,200,000 litres.
“What we have seen, effectively, is that there will be a drop in production of around 20%,” she said, explaining that “the fact that there is no precipitation ” forces producers to “start irrigation more and more in advance” and the “high temperatures, especially in July, burned some vines”.
She clarified that, although “there were not many”, among the vineyards affected by the burns, many ended up suffering from “hydric stress” and “the grapes did not develop in the best way, compromising expected profitability.
“Indeed, during the harvest, the producers noticed that what was in the vines was not what we expected”. She reassured that the predominance of “small producers, with one or two hectares”, and the “manual selection in the vineyards and in the cellars, always guarantee the quality” of the final product, “although it is not a brilliant year. “.
Ms Silva pointed out that in 2021, the Algarve wine Commission experienced “one of the record years of production, with more than 1,500,000 litres”. The data available so far – which will only be confirmed in November – indicates a harvest of “undoubtedly 1,000,000 litres, but this is lower than last year’s harvest” and “will not exceed 1,200 000 liters”.
The president of the Algarve Wine Commission explained that, although the irrigation was anticipated by “many producers” and started in May, “with increased costs”, “some of them felt that they should have started earlier, given the end result” of the harvest, which was brought forward to the last weeks of July.
“You have to watch the maturation,” she explained, stressing that “harvesting must be done as soon as possible”, as soon as the conditions are ideal, because the heat quickly modifies the acidity levels and can harm the final quality.
At the time of harvest this year, producers were also faced with the lack of specialized labor and the “difficulty in finding people available to work in the vineyard”, mainly in Lagoa, Silves, Lagos and Tavira, underlined the President of the Commission.
Algarve wines “sell mainly in the region”, taking advantage of tourism and the opportunities it brings to the sector, she noted that “We have on average just over a million bottles sold and in total around 70-80% are sold here in the region. Around 10 to 15 per cent is for export, and tthe rest is sold nationally”.
The Algarve wine sector is now looking to “develop even more an expanding product, which is wine tourism, associated with catering and accommodation”, and to take advantage of the “dynamics of tourism” and “chains of the hotel and catering industry” to sell the 2022 Harvest, from which “excellent wines will surely come out, but not in the desired quantities”, she concluded.