Due to stronger heat than normal this summer, many famous wine regions are beginning grape harvest one to three weeks earlier in 2020, compared to previous years. In Italy, at Ornellaia Winery, nestled in the heart of Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast, harvest commenced on August 13, one week earlier than usual. In addition to the heat, they have had to adjust to the new COVID safety protocols of social distancing in both the vineyards and the cellars.
Social Distancing During Grape Harvest
“Distancing is natural in the vineyards,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz. However, in the cellar where workers traditionally work more closely, Ornellaia had to reorganize the way the grapes were received. “We changed our working methods without altering our operation and without compromising our standards of quality. It has been a significant challenge.”
As with other years, the Ornellaia workers started harvesting white grapes first, with bunches of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The red varieties, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, are expected to be harvested between the last few days of August and the first week of September.
Watchwords: Confidence and Resilience
Despite the issues, hopes are high for the 2020 vintage, but, like every year, it will be the weather conditions in September that decide the definitive quality of the vintage.
Axel Heinz states, “The watchwords for this first harvest after the Covid-19 lockdown are ‘confidence and resilience’. Our commitment is to work as usual, interpreting the vintage to the best of our abilities while preserving the style and identity of Ornellaia.”
About Ornellaia Winery
The name Ornellaia is synonymous with fine winemaking and an authentic expression of the beauty of Tuscany. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coastline, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and the iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. In little over thirty years (the first vintage of Ornellaia was in 1985), the team’s dedication accompanied by optimal soil and microclimate have resulted in critical acclaim and public success within Italy and internationally.