The quality of Walloon wine will be excellent this year, despite a slightly lower grape yield. Pierre Rion, the President of the Association of Walloon Wine-makers stated to the Belga press agency that this is owing to adverse weather conditions this year. The grape harvests will begin in the south of the country around two weeks earlier than normal.
The spring frosts, which affected all of vineyards in April, caused a slight panic for the association’s President. That having been said, buds of vineyards growing traditional varieties have proven well-blended and extremely frost-resistant.
Mr Rion flagged up that vineyards growing interspecific varieties, namely hybrids, which have greater resistance to crop diseases, “were greatly affected but a ‘second generation’ of harvests was able to make up for yield losses.”
Although 2015 grape harvests had enabled the production of nearly a million bottles, 2016 harvests had decreased by 32%. This is a figure equivalent to that estimated for 2017, equating to a little above 600,000 bottles.
Despite this, as alluded to above the quality of the wine produced should be “excellent”, thanks to the heat and the drought seen this summer. The President of the AVW stressed, “The warm conditions have enabled harvests to be spared disease, mainly that of mildew which exceptionally has not been present this year.”
The grape harvests are anticipated to take place around the end of September through to the beginning of October in vineyards growing traditional varieties, and at the beginning of mid-October for interspecific varieties which have developed their grapes later. Rion says that this is “a generally early trend, one to two weeks ahead of schedule, compared to the usual grape harvest timescales.”