Sultry weather in Sicily, but fierce daytime heat is mitigated by temperature variations at night. Antonio Rallo: “Nothing anomalous in our vineyards, we were actually behind on the period of ripening.”
Marsala, June 29, 2007 – Generalizations never work out well, especially in viticulture. And because of physical and climatic conditions, Sicily is truly a continent with variations and effects that can distinctly change even in a range of only a few miles.
The blazing heat of recent days, according to some farmers’ organizations, has accelerated the vegetative-productive processes of the vine, especially in the south and in Sicily, thereby indicating that the harvest would begin about a month earlier than usual. Such a forecast does not always bear comparison with the data collected by some producing estates and the information supplied by the surveys of the Servizio Informativo Agro-Meteorologico Siciliano (SIAS), which on Sicily tends to the collection of data concerning the island. In addition, Agriveltha, a project involving telecollection of data, has been set up at Donnafugata by Telecom and Deca.
The data collected directly in the vineyard denies the more alarmist forecasts. There were plenty of surprises when looking at the maximum and minimum temperatures registered from June 23 through 26. At 300 meters (982 feet)—one of the lowest points of Donnafugata’s vineyards at Contessa Entellina—the temperature at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 25 (the hottest day when the Sirocco was blowing from Africa), was 39.9 °C. (103.8 °F.). A few hours later, however, temperature of 15.1°C (59.2 °F)., was registered at 6 a.m. The variation in temperature between the two peaks amounted to nearly 25 °C (77 °F) (see table).
“The heat wave was mitigated by nocturnal temperature that were substantially cooler” said Antonio Rallo, owner of Donnafugata and head of the estate’s technical staff. “The effects were highly positive for the performance of the vine’s cycle of vegetation and the future sensory quality of the grapes. We had a rainy spring, especially in May and underground supplies of water are much better than usual. Climatic conditions in June failed to create stress in the vineyards. Instead, we can say that the rise in temperatures could have partly recuperated the delay in ripening that occurred on our estates. As of now, our vineyards are in great shape and, therefore, we are confident that the vintage will be extremely good. We hope that Sicily, again this year, will experience favorable climatic conditions that will assure outstanding qualitative consistency.”
Data secured at the Agriveltha station at the Tenuta di Donnafugata at Contessa Entellina
|Maximum temperature||37.0° C / 98.6 °F||38.9° C / 102 °F||39.9° C/103.8 °F||38.2° C / 100.8 °F|
|Minimum temperature||17.8° C / 64 °F||16.5° C / 61.7 °F||15.1° C / 59.2 °F||16.3° C / 61.3 °F|
|Temperature variation||19.2° C / 66.6 °F||22.4° C / 72.3 °F||24.8° C / 76.6 °F||21.1° C / 70 °F|
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