The trend of the year in Contessa Entellina, Pantelleria, Vittoria, and Etna.
The 2023 harvest was particularly challenging as it required continuous monitoring of alternating climatic conditions and the adoption of sharp agronomic choices.
After a winter with little rain, the abundant rains in May guaranteed an optimal water supply to the soil which allowed the vineyards to better cope with the high temperatures that lasted for about ten days in July. The heat had the effect of slowing down the production cycle, which however returned to normal from the end of July onwards, thanks to the ideal climatic conditions that followed.
Thanks to scrupulous agronomic management, the vegetative production cycle concluded regularly, giving life to well-ripe and quality grapes in all the estates.
Overall, there was a drop in production compared to the average of the various estates, due to the onset of downy mildew only in some plots, but above all due to the production of slightly less compact bunches and with smaller and lighter berries. In the case of the reds, the small grapes favored excellent phenolic maturation with a high concentration of tannins, a prerequisite for wines with good body and good longevity potential.
In the Contessa Entellina estate, in the heart of Western Sicily, a total of 604mm of rainfall was recorded compared to the average of 662mm. The scrupulous agronomic and eco-sustainable management has included integrated pest control interventions, green manure and the use, for the first time, of ties made of mater-bi, a completely compostable material of plant origin. For a more efficient use of water resources, the leaf water potential was monitored in order to carry out emergency irrigation only in the vineyards where it was useful.
The harvest began with a delay of 7-10 days, in early August; the first grapes harvested were those for the production of the Classic Method sparkling wine base. The harvest then got underway in the second half of August and continued according to the ripening period of the 19 vines grown on this estate, concluding on September 25th.
There was a lower production than the average of this estate, of a quality perfectly in line with the winery objectives.
In the Pantelleria estate, the trend of the year has imposed scrupulous agronomic practices of integrated pest control and eco-sustainable management. Overall, 589 mm of rainfall was recorded compared to the 473 mm average on the island. Compared to the previous year which was more generous, in 2023 there was a drop in production due to the climatic trend which led to the production of less compact bunches and with smaller and lighter berries. The vegetative production cycle concluded regularly, giving rise to well-ripe grapes of quality and aromatic finesse.
The harvest began in the first half of August (in the earliest districts such as Punta Karace), with the first grapes destined for the drying process to have raisins for Passito Ben Ryé. After mid-August the harvest was in full swing, both of the grapes to be dried and those for the production of fresh must, according to the ripening period of the Zibibbo in the different districts. The harvest ended on September 16th with a limited drop in production. The quality of the grapes brought to the cellar is excellent.
In Acate, on the Vittoria Estate, the beginning of winter recorded temperatures slightly above average between December and January, compensated by the arrival of cold temperatures and abundant rainfall in the month of February. Thanks to careful agronomic practices and scrupulous management of the vineyard, an excellent vegetative-productive balance has been achieved to date.
Thanks to the position between the sea and the Iblei mountains, the vineyards have benefited from cool “thermal breezes” and good excursions between day and night, even in the hottest summer periods. The Nero d’Avola and Frappato grapes have reached ideal ripeness and excellent quality.
The harvest began in the youngest vineyards in the first ten days of September and concluded in the last week of the month. Production was in line with the average for this estate.
In the estate on Etna, where Donnafugata has vineyards between Randazzo and Castiglione di Sicilia, the abundant rains in May were recorded, imposing scrupulous agronomic practices of integrated pest control and eco-sustainable management. The harvest began on 12 September with the harvest of the Nerello Mascalese for the rosé for which the freshness component is to be enhanced. The harvest of Carricante then began at the end of September, while the harvest of Nerello Mascalese for red wines came into full swing at the beginning of October when it reached the ideal sugar and phenolic maturation, and concluded in the last ten days of October . A year that recorded a significant drop in production – especially for Nerello Mascalese – but of excellent quality for the entire production.
Marsala: November 25th, 2023
Baldo M. Palermo [email protected]
Emanuele Corsale [email protected]