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2012 29 October


The Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate in Montalcino, Tuscanys premier vineyard estate, wrapped up its harvest on October 13, nearly 60 days after it began picking its white varietals.

The harvest of Chardonnay, followed by Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc started on August 22. Because of high temperatures, picking took place on an early schedule, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., before the hottest hours of the day. While the quality of the fruit brought to the winery as good, there was a 25% reduction in quantity over 2011 due mainly to a long drought and high summertime temperatures.  

Harvest of the red varietals began in the third week of September with the early ripening Syrah and Merlot, followed by Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  A return to more seasonally normal weather conditions allowed for a return to normal picking times, and the reds also showed good quality though yields were down  by about 20%.

“Despite the hot summer, less extreme weather conditions in late August through September were vital for the ripening of polyphenols in the grapes, yielding structure and color,” said Enrico Viglierchio, General Manager of Castello Banfi. “The wide temperature variations between night and day, along with helpful light rainfall, helped re-establish stability in the grapes, creating ideal conditions for the most important phase of ripening for Sangiovese.”  

Cristina Mariani-May, family proprietor of Castello Banfi, pointed out that the groundbreaking, in-depth studies undertaken by her estate on the Sangiovese varietal and the 29 different soils types found on the property have given Banfi an advantage in more challenging vintages like this one. “In a great vintage, it is easy to make good wine across the board,” she said. “But in difficult conditions, the ability to select the best fruit from the best plots; to manage each vineyard individually, row by row and vine by vine; to have the patience, foresight and courage to wait for the right moment; and the organization to act quickly as needed to bring in the crop at the ideal moment, are the unique advantages that allow us to make more consistently excellent wines despite annual variations.”


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