Barely two weeks have passed since we wrapped up the 2018 harvest, and now it’s time to take stock. Although this year was one of the most difficult we can remember, due to the severe frosts of 2017 and a particularly rainy spring which led to numerous fungal attacks, today we can look back and feel extremely satisfied with the work we’ve done and the results we’ve obtained.
A year after the vineyards of the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alaves regions suffered freezing, record-breaking low temperatures, our oenologist Rafa Usoz talks to www.lomejordelvinoderioja.com about the vineyard’s incredible recovery. It’s almost a miracle, bearing in mind the pessimistic forecasts of just a few months ago.
At Bodegas Sonsierra we are in the middle of the pruning season, a task that takes place from mid-November to mid-March. Pruning is a fundamental task for the vineyard and much more so in this privileged area of La Rioja exposed to bad weather due to its location at the foot of the mountain.
Autumn is here, the star season for us to enjoy a real spectacle of colours. Throughout October, the Sonsierra landscape gradually changes colour, dressing itself in different hues: ochres, reds, yellows, browns ... Trees, shrubs ... and of course the vineyard abandons its uniform green to transform this landscape into a true feast for the senses. And if we focus on the vineyard, what colour do the vines turn in autumn?.
Last Friday, 29 September, the harvest was completed at the Bodegas Sonsierra winery. A harvest which has been somewhat more complicated than in previous years due to the weather conditions during the year. But we can say that we are very satisfied because the grapes collected are of excellent quality. The grapes are very healthy, light, balanced and have an excellent polyphenol content, which means they are perfect for making wines which are very suitable for barrel-ageing. So in the winery we are looking forward to seeing the first results of the wines made from this promising 2017 harvest.
"If you wish to see the owner cry, go to the vine during the veraison”
This popular saying from La Rioja perfectly describes the magical moment which is experienced during these weeks at our vineyards at San Vicente de la Sonsierra.
The veraison is the ripening stage of the grape. The polyphenols are in charge of providing the particular colouration depending on the grape variety. If the grape is red, during the veraison it will start to become stained with bluish and purple tones. If the grape is white, little by little it will take on a yellowish colour. To see a vine during the veraison is truly a sensorial spectacle.
Here at Bodegas Sonsierra we would like to tell you about our day-to-day work in the winery and in the vineyard.
In the vineyard right now we are doing what we call “desniete”, or removal of secondary shoots, a task that we learned from our ancestors and which is essential for the health of the plant. This process is intended to thin the vine so that the grape will be free and the bunch will grow directly downward. It also enhances the ability of the vine to harness the nutrients. In the winery these days we are emptying the barrels of the 2015 vintage and filling them with the latest vintage from 2016, always under the attentive eye of Rafa Usoz, our enologist.
In the early hours of the 28th of April, the temperature in San Vicente fell to 2 degrees below zero which caused a historic freeze in our vineyards. From that moment on, at Bodegas Sonsierra we undertook all of the measures possible to ensure that the plant recovered as soon as possible and was able to sprout vigorously.