Drought alert. People are hoping for rain to save a season threatened by great thirst. «Without a good dose of rainfall», warns Fabio Marchisio, «we fear we are heading for a ‘lean’ harvest: our clusters are beautiful today, but the harvest could turn out to be poor». The weather is to blame: so much heat and too many months of clear skies, with no disturbances. «After an exceptional start to the season, now ripening is slowing down and the berries are in danger of shrinking». Another problem: Piedmont is still not allowed to irrigate vineyards, as is the case in other regions. «And anyway, the other trouble this year is the lack of water: even if we were allowed to spray the rows, there would not be sufficient water sources». We are at the paradox, says Fabio: «In Sicily, where drought is the rule, our colleagues are not suffering this year: they had a rainy winter, which filled their reservoirs. Reservoirs that we don’t have, and which would be precious today».
The problem – Fabio Giavedoni confirms in Slow Food magazine – is that for the past few years, thanks to climate change (torrid summers, not mitigated by rains), vineyards have been seriously suffering. «By now only in Piedmont is irrigation not allowed and considered», writes the expert, «although in the Asti area and in some vineyards in the north of the region the first drip systems are beginning to be installed». In other regions, Slow Food reports, many producers feel the same way: «If there were no opportunity for ‘relief irrigation,’ there would probably be a major contraction of viticulture». Unfortunately, Fabio Marchisio points out, in Piedmontese vineyards – for now – water can be used only in two cases: on individual replacement vines, planted to replace “failures”, or on young rooted cuttings, no more than the first three years of age.
Compromised season? «We’re waiting to say», smiles Fabio, who is hoping for auspicious signals from the sky. «At worst, we will harvest fewer grapes: as just happened last year, because of hail». On the other hand – so to speak – not even the 2020 season had been one for the books: all grape growers, in fact, had suffered the severe (commercial) repercussions of the global crisis created by the Covid, with the knockout of exports. All is not lost, however: never stop having faith in Jupiter Pluvio. Moreover, the Marchisio Family’s vineyards are known to have an extra edge: biodynamic management, as is well known, hardens the vines and makes them extremely resistant to adversity. What else to add? «Well, fingers crossed». So, happy rain, everyone!