Israel Harvest 2008

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Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Gary J » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:36 pm

Hello to everyone out there, Rogov & other forum members-

We heard news about a video clip discussing the start of this years harvest season.

I was wondering if anyone can provide an update on this years harvest so far.

How is the season looking? What has already been harvested? How are the early indications?

Anything???

Thanks and missing Israel at harvest time...
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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:51 pm

Gary, Hi.....

The first signs of true harvest began about a week ago, somewhat earlier than usual. First reports are of what might be called "guarded success" but the truth is that it is still a bit early to say anything intelligent, especially on an overall scale. I'll start serious checking on the harvest quality in another week or ten days.

Perhaps others have some specific feedback to share?

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Eli R » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:55 pm

Gary, Hi,

What I can tell you is that the harvest started early. In the hills on the way to Jerusalem, they started with the whites in July.
I believe the main reason is the very hot weather in the spring and early summer.

Some wineries invited the public to participate in the harvest in August, especially around mid-August which falls this year on "Tu-Beav" (the 15th in the Hebrew month of "Av" - which celebrates love and the harvert of grapes in old times).

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Gary J » Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:03 pm

Thank you Rogov & Eli!

Does an early harvest indicate a shorter growing season and consequently a less than great vintage?

I understand it is early, but if things persist to be harvested early might this be the case?
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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:29 pm

As I say, "guarded optimism" at this time. True, a few winemakers (the more foolish among us) are already predicting yet another "great year" but it is well worth keeping in mind that only rarely does any Mediterranean wine-growing region have either a "great" or a "terrible" vintage.

Also worth keeping in mind that Israel, like much of the Mediterranean had an overall dry and warm winter and, depending on whether the vines "enjoyed" or were "teed off by" their suffering remains to be seen. Before I make any first guesses, I'll wait to see what the reds and whites are available for tasting after initial fermentation......

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Gary J » Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:36 pm

Fair enough.

Looking forward to any and all, early indications...
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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:06 pm

As a complete side-note......those local wineries inviting wine-lovers to "participate in the harvest" are not doing this in order to actually help out with the harvest. Hand-harvesting is physically demanding and back-breaking work and not "the thing"for tourists whose actual contribution is nil. The wineries extend such invitations as much as an exercise in public relations as anything and those who take part do so for the sheer fun of it.

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Eli R » Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:22 pm

those who take part do so for the sheer fun of it.


Right!
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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby RShaffer » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:50 pm

Rogov - are there parts of the world where "vintage" means more in terms of wine quality differences than others?

I'm thinking that in places with fairly consistent weather year over year Vintage means less...but I wanted to learn about this from you.

And how important is it to know about vintage for the average retail wine-buyer or restaurant customer?

Any key principles to keep in mind?

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:20 pm

Richard, Hi….

Let me start off by saying that vintage year differences indeed have minimal impact in those wine-producing areas in which weather conditions (macro and micro) remain remarkably stable from year to year. The area that comes to mind most quickly is Chile where, with minimal change in rainfall, wind direction, predictable average weekly and monthly temperatures, well-known patterns of night-day temperature changes, and firmly stable soil conditions, one can almost ignore vintage year in favor of producer reliability. That is not to say that there is no variation. It is to say however that such variation is minimal.

Going in the opposite direction, vintage variation is probably most often noted in what many consider the "greatest" wine producing areas of the world – that is to say nearly all regions of France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal as well as in California, Oregon and Washington States.

As to importance in familiarity with vintages – very - but on the condition that one realizes that vintage evaluations are little more than estimates and averages. True, in cases of catastrophic vintage years in an area or areas, all serious wine lovers should be aware because it is probable that few if any really good wines came from that area or areas during that year. If one does not have a great repertoire of knowledge of wineries in an area, the wines of a catastrophic vintage year are to be avoided. In the case of "great" years, also useful but again, merely as a guide. In the case of good but not great years, more important to know how this or that winery fared because even in mediocre years there will be wines that rise above" the average.

Key principles: Again, even though vintage charts are estimates and averages they can provide an initial guideline; that vintage year data must be factored in with the quality and track record of the winery being considered; and that detailed tasting notes are far more valuable than mere vintage predictions.

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Gary J » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:43 am

Interesting stuff Rogov.

But back to the original question, I hear that EVERYTHING is being harvested early this year (so far). I just got a report that some reds are already being harvested in the Jerusalem hills. And if you believe it, Zinfandel - which I thought with its monster alcohol (stemming from high sugar levels) was always harvested late???

Again, not yet condemning this years crop, but it does appear that things are early and from what I understand that means a shorter growing season and less time to develop flavors/complexities in the vineyard...

Not to change the topic completely, but might we be seeing some of the effects of global warming? (I know, a different topic altogether and one we have previously discussed).

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Re: Israel Harvest 2008

Postby Daniel Rogov » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:07 pm

With specific comment as to how global warming applies to the 2008 harvest in Israel let me just say "global warming, global shmarming". A bit of research shows that average temperatures and rainfall variation in Israel have followed consistent patterns by decade for the past 80 years. If one cares to go back a bit further to that, the weather seems to have been pretty consistent since the time of Roman historian Josephus. Going even further, I recall that it was written somewhere (perhaps the bible?) that there would be so many years of fat and so many of lean......and so it seems to be even today.

No need to fear the harvest however, for I received an email today from India announcing that the world would be ending on 28 August, long before we'll see the results of this or any future harvest. I do enjoy end of the world pronouncements.

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