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Nadal Closes a Low harvest but with Intact Principles and an Eye on the Future

The 2023 Vintage, which concluded with a very positive result, has been marked by continuous drought

The Meteorological Service of Catalonia has defined this year’s climate in Alt Penedès region as a “desert climate”. A strong statement, worsened by the fact that this is the third harvest affected with severe drought, with almost half the usual amount of rainfall.

Nevertheless, the harvest at Nadal’s estate has withstood the blow, decreasing by only 40% compared to the average within the last 25 years. “We are more than satisfied”, celebrates the winemaker and owner Xavier Nadal, who considers it “a reaffirmation that we have a unique land and that we are practicing sustainable organic viticulture over time, even in such extreme climatic circumstances”.

With each harvest getting warmer, the winery has adopted the custom of beginning the harvest at 5 a.m. in the morning to ensure that the grapes are maintained in a fresh state and to make it convenient for grape pickers, so that they are not as affected by the heat.

However, this assessment comes after an atypical and complex harvest. It began with the Macabeu variety on August 18th, immediately before one of the most prominent heatwaves of the summer. The extreme conditions experienced during the harvest are a clear reflection of what the vineyards have been going through in the recent years. There have been three years with extremely dry autumns and winters and temperatures above the average within the last 25 years, with several peaks of intense heat. This inevitably results in irregular budding, with little strength and very small grapes and therefore low production.

Despite the adversity, Nadal has persisted in its ecological commitment and has intensified manual work on the estate in recent years of drought – measures that have borne fruit. Having the harvest finished on the 14th of September, the grapes were brought in at their optimum point and a total amount of just over 50% of a normal harvest was obtained. These are very good figures in exceptional weather conditions that will surely be recorded in the history of Penedès. Xavier Nadal is convinced that conditions will ease, but he warns that “in some vineyards of Penedès, it will take more than one campaign to bring the vines back to normal, both vegetative and productive”.

The tanks of the Nadal winery are already filled with the wine that will become white wines of xarel·lo or corpinnat, to be marketed from April 1st 2024 and spring of 2026, respectively. In addition, new products will also be introduced, including a new, sweet wine made from Malvasia de Sitges – a local variety with great potential, as it develops and expresses itself excellently in extreme climatic conditions, such as those we have been experiencing recently. And even though recent vintages bear little resemblance to the pattern of recent decades, Nadal is clear: “the magic of wine shall continue!”.


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