I. Budburst, when buds start to appear after winter dormancy, occurred in the first half of March, more than two weeks earlier than average in this region. The advance in the initial phase of the cycle occurred because the winter was less rigorous and cold than normal. This can have different consequences in such a heterogeneous territory, namely in the different landscapes of the valley and the mountains. The responsible for monitoring the vineyards of the Soalheiro’s Club of Producers explains: “in the highest part of our territory, our vineyard at 1100 meters of altitude, there was less snow than usual, in the valley the temperatures were milder”.
II. During the vegetative growth phase precipitation was abundant and temperatures were low. As Miguel Alves explains, this “ended up delaying the advance of the cycle, causing the veraison, the phase when maturation begins, to start mid-July, about a week earlier than in a conventional year”. The month of July and the beginning of August were characterized by very high temperatures during the day and the absence of precipitation. In mid-August, there were some light rains that “favoured the quality of the grapes and helped the vineyard to recover the reserves”.
III. The end of August was milder, with temperatures of around 30°C during the day and nights with temperatures around 16°C. This high thermal amplitude was due to the protection from Atlantic winds by the mountains surrounding the Alvarinho valley. For António Luís Cerdeira, winemaker of Soalheiro, this end of the cycle “led to a slower maturation with the maintenance of aromatic and gustatory freshness, a major characteristic of our wines”.
It is always important in our wines, be it Loureiro for ALLO or Alvarinho for the remaining wines, to find the best balance between alcohol and acidity. 2019 was slightly cooler than 2018, which we like a lot, and also with moderate alcohol. Finally, the expectations are great, but as the saying goes “even washing the baskets is vintage” so we will strive to ensure that the wines are perfect and live up to the great quality of the grapes.
The rainfall in winter was lower than average. In January, the rainfall increased and was very heavy, with an average ambient temperature that was also higher than usual. Overall, the winter was hot, which led to a slightly early budburst with regular flushing. The spring was rainy and cold in the months of March, April, and May, which resulted in irregularity and delay in the vegetative cycle. Flowering took place two weeks late, which reduced setting, allowing for better distribution of production over each vine and a resulting increase in quality. From June onwards, the rainfall reduced drastically, and average temperatures rose. The months of July and August were hot and very dry, with high average temperatures and practically no rainfall. September followed this trend, contributing to an early harvest that started in its first week, a clear recovery from the delay observed in spring.