Regional wine production affected by drought and heat
Algarve wine production is expected to drop around 20%, compared to 2021, due to the ongoing drought and extreme heat this past summer, revealed the Algarve Wine Commission (CVA).
CVA boss Sara Silva says wine producers were expecting “a year of growth” after a “record year” in 2021, but the lack of rain and scorching weather limited the production of Algarve wine to between one million and 1.2 million litres this year – as opposed to 1.5 million litres produced last year.
The lack of rain “forced producers to water their vineyards earlier than usual”, Sara Silva told Lusa news agency, while the high temperatures, especially during July, led some vines to wilt, which affected the profits winemakers were expecting for this year.
While the wine commission president recognises that 2022 “was not a brilliant year”, she stressed that the Algarve’s winemaking sector is made up mostly of small producers, with one or two hectares, who hand-harvest their grapes, ensuring the “quality” of the final product.
Many producers started irrigating their vineyards in May but had hoped they had started even earlier as the harvests were also carried out earlier than usual, in the second half of July, explained Sara Silva.
Harvests should be carried out “as soon as conditions are ideal”, she said, as the heat quickly changes acidity levels and can affect the quality of the wine.
Making matters more difficult for producers is the shortage of specialised labour to tend the vineyards, Silva said.
Algarve winemakers are located all across the region, but the majority are based in Lagoa, Silves, Lagos and Tavira.
Most of the wine is sold locally to take advantage of tourism.
Between 70% and 80% of the one million bottles produced in the Algarve are sold in the region, with around 10%-15% being exported and the remainder sold elsewhere in Portugal.
Algarve winemakers would like to see the wine tourism sector develop even further and hope to make the most of the “dynamics of tourism”, through hotels and restaurants, to sell the wines produced in 2022, which Sara Silva guarantees will be “excellent wines, but not in the desired quantities”.