Please find below the most interesting harvest report for 2017 by Manousakis Winery.
"The last vintages in Crete are characterized by their diversity, leading us constantly to new challenges." That was the first sentence of the 2016 harvest report, and we couldn't think of anything more appropriate for the 2017 vintage!
After a very dry 2016, plenty of rain fell during the autumn months. The cold and humid first months of the year, alongside the unprecedented- for our climate- snowfall, delayed budbreak, giving us some extra time to prepare for what was to be a very harsh season. Even during Spring the rain continued, allowing the vines to grow vigorously; we were kept on our toes however, constantly looking out for and trying to prevent fungal diseases from growing. With our main weapon being our knowledge and experience in organic viticulture since 1993, we managed to overcome all challenges unharmed! Just after Easter Holidays we found a window to realize a plan that we have been preparing for more than 18 months. The replanting of 0.2 hectares with Roussanne vines reminded us how tough of an enemy (quite literally) is the schistolithic soil on which we grow our vines.
May 29th was the last major rainfall of the year, accumulating over 40mm in two days. After that the weather changed! A month later the temperature would reach 44 degrees Celsius for four consecutive days. That was the first of three more heatwaves of the season, during which the grapes were hiding, protected under the shade of their canopy.
These exceptional weather conditions had an impact on Syrah's biological clock, which, unlike most of the time, went through veraison before Vidiano and also Grenache, which normally go through veraison together. During July, one by one all of our varieties were entering the last stage of their maturation, with Roussanne and Mourvèdre being, as always, last in line.
The high temperatures continued and no one could safely guess whether we would have an early or late harvest. Finally, and after consecutive sampling on several vineyards, the first grapes were harvested on August 16th- almost 20 days later than what we are used to! Syrah on the lower vineyards of 300m, was in a hurry, and for the first time in 20 years it was harvested first, on the same day with our Roussanne. The next few weeks were remarkably calm, since one by one each vineyard was reaching the optimum maturity level, giving us time to think and organize our next steps. Later, Vidiano, Grenache at 300m altitude, the rest of our Syrah and Roussanne from the lower vineyards were harvested. During that time we received the extraordinary Muscat of Spina, from the un-grafted century-old vineyards of Spina, as well as the Assyrtiko.
Starting at beginning of September and for the next 17 days it was a non-stop race of everyday harvesting, sampling and organizing for the next day! Grenache and Roussanne at our high altitude 600m vineyards had reached their peak. Straight afterwards we went back to 300m for Mourvèdre before returning to 600m for the final Syrah.
When all the tanks were finally full, and no grapes hanging on our vineyards, we had the time to choose among the best vineyards of Romeiko grape for our surprise wine for this vintage.
Ioannis Galanis (viticulturist at Manousakis Winery)