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The weather in the middle of bud break is a very serious matter in Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
A look at the sky and the weather maps; and from there, eyes to the vineyard. At Palacios Vinos de Finca, both in Rioja and Ribera del Duero, we are concerned about frost in the vineyard, especially when the vines are in full budbreak.
We have had an atypical March, with much higher temperatures than normal. It has been windy, as the saying goes, but it has not been a rainy April, but rather a hot one, with a very significant contrast between day and night temperatures and, with minimum temperatures, unusual for these dates, below zero, which is worrying for the vineyards and the vines.
In our case, bud break has arrived a few days early in our vineyards, starting a new cycle that will culminate in September with the grape harvest. The much-feared frosts can damage those first shoots, which are still very tender at the beginning of spring.
It is obvious, and we at Palacios Vinos de Finca are aware that the vine cycle is getting shorter. The heat is arriving earlier and earlier. This is very negative for the vines, which need a vegetative rest, with cold and rain during the winter to accumulate a water reserve in the deepest parts of the vineyards, which is what will allow them to nourish themselves with water reserves in summer, on hot days.
Although vines are a rain-fed crop, they are also affected by climate change. In the winters it does not rain enough and it hardly snows. And in spring there are record highs and record lows in both maximum and minimum temperatures.
Fertility and balance in a natural way
Consequently, weather uncertainty is increasing, year after year. Concerned as we are about climate change, we seek fertility and balance in a natural way; a balance with nature that we find in the very cool, high altitude areas where our vineyards are located. This allows them to benefit from the thermal contrasts between day and night that are optimal for the vine and its life cycle, also achieving slower ripening and delaying the start of the new cycle of the vine, with the aim of preventing those worrying frosts from damaging our vines.
This work in cool areas, with which we avoid rapid ripening, is also key to obtaining the quality wines we make.
Year by year it is becoming more evident that vine cultivation is moving to more northerly latitudes and, in this sense, Palacios Vinos de Finca has an advantage. Our work is the result of observation and meticulous analysis, not only of the soils, but also of the climate and orientations. We study everything that affects the grapes, the vines and the vineyards. And this research has led us to carefully choose areas with unique characteristics, where we give priority to altitude.
Thanks to this, we find freshness in the grapes, the hallmark of our wines. Our philosophy of intervening as little as possible leads us to seek the authenticity of each area and within that authenticity, the varieties that best represent the soil typology.
We are aware that, in terms of the weather, and more so in recent years, the wine sector is not going through the best of times. For this reason, natural conservation and sustainability are fundamental pillars for us. We defend honest agriculture that respects biodiversity and cares for and protects the soil. And it is on these foundations that we base our daily work.