I’m going to be banal, but in this not-summer we have to talk mainly about the weather. Based on this data issued by the Italian Meteorological Society you will understand what I am talking about:
Due to persistent Atlantic streams, July 2014 in Piedmont will go on record as a decisively cool month, even if it wasn’t exceptionally so, with an average monthly temperature of 22.6 °C in Turin, 1.8 °C below the averages from 1981 to 2010. A coolness which we didn’t see in recent summers, which were always hotter, but similar to what was observed in July 1993 (average: 22.3 °C), 2000 (22.6 °C) and 2011 (22.8 °C).
The precipitation instead was extraordinary on a centennial scale, be it for quantity or frequency: in the center of Turin (station ARPA of the Royal Gardens) there was a total of 242 mm, more than quadruple the norm, and it was the second most rainy July since 1803 after the case of 1826 (255 mm).
13 rainy days were counted in place of six normal ones: in over two centuries such a high frequency was observed in this month only in 1906 (13 rainy days) and in 1932 (14 days).
The photos give you an idea of how we’ve passed the months of June and July. Furthermore, it seems that the instability may continue. Another 2002? I want to be an optimist and hope for a hot August/September. A positive note is that, despite the incredible quantity of rain and the hail in mid-July, the fungus attacks were limited and those few that we found were immediately eradicated. Compared to last year we were more attentive, without underestimating anything, treating with sulfur as well as copper, in a precise and continuous manner. The change to a more respectful agriculture, even during this difficult year, has proved us right, but the level of attention and observation to the vineyards has to be at the maximum: to me, this is quality.
The first bunches of dolcetto are changing color, which means that despite the difficulty in seeing the sun, the plants are deciding to ripen. We would really need a proper month of real heat, to make up for lost time. At the moment it looks like it’s going to be a long and complicated harvest, but as we all know, everything can change quickly and the forecasts can invert.
This year, more than ever, grassing the rows and the decision to contain the vigor of some vineyards with the sowing of barley between the rows, is succeeding: the land is draining the water well and the land-vine balance is revealing itself to be successful. In a particular way San Bernardo, which was considered the most vigorous vineyard 5 years ago, has only been trimmed two times and the bunches are contained in number and dimension.
Difficult year? We’re ready.