Rick's Pick: University of Tarragona instructor and winemaker, Antoni Sanchez-Ortiz focuses on climate change and how viticulture must adapt in Spain’s DOQ Priorat region.
The mesoclimate determines climatic differences due to the topography of the Priorat and that give rise to local modifications or changes that can affect to more or less ample extensions. Factors that condition them include distance to the sea, altitude, orientation, exposure, and latitude. Between nearby municipalities, noticeable differences in temperature, precipitation, insolation and thermal amplitude can be seen, which affect the processes of growth, bud breaking, fruit formation, ripening and, ultimately, the composition of grapes. The prediction of an interval of concentrations of color and tannins would be of utmost importance to define qualities and styles of wine, given the great inter-parcel variability observed in plots of Grenache and Carignan vines within the Priorat DOQ.
Here is his bio, as narrated by Antoni:
I was born in December 4th, 1978 into a family with few financial resources in a small valley in the Spain’s Pyrenees. Although my parents never had the chance to go to school, I had some talent to study science and so continued my studies until college. After five years in college, I majored in analytical chemistry and more particularly to assess the degree of chemistry in the University of Barcelona. After I worked in corrosion of automobile engines and intercoolers using the Swaat Tecnique, at Frape Behr. Quickly I moved into the development of a GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy) methods to determinate fatty acid composition from raw materials (mainly palm and coconut oil), where I worked at Henkel Düsseldorf plant in Germany for one year after obtaining a scholarship.
It was there almost by chance where I took a course of wine tasting and there began my interest in the discovery of quality wines. Consequently I fell in love with fine wines. In the following years, after studying enology within the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain) and the University Victor Segalen in Bordeaux. I graduated as a winemaker at 23 years of age. For 18 years now I have worked full time within the demanding context of producing world-class wines, both as a winemaker and as a viticulturist in the renowned appellation of Priorat,Spain. For many years I have also worked closely with the renowned French consulting enologist Claude Gross, and have travelled to California to study the Pinot Noir blending techniques of Sea Smoke Cellars, the acclaimed Pinot Noir producer near Santa Barbara, California. I like obtaining outstanding fine wines with a unique personality, making a superb red wine in the Priorat wine growing region, as an expression of varietal and site showcases the best which region’s true native character. Currently, with the consulting company I am also committed to producing one of the high-end, handmade organic olive oil in Spain’s Pyrennees. My conviction that great wine results from an intimate knowledge of the land arises from additional experience in vineyard management and climate warming studies as a PhD candidate with the Viticulture Department at the Faculty of Enology in Tarragona.
Join Nova Cadamatre, MW for another look into the vineyard this time focusing on the difference between training and trellising. Find out what each is and then learn about how both are applied and how a vineyard manager might choose which system to use.
Nova Cadamatre is a winemaker, writer, and blogger. As one of the first graduates of Cornell’s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, Nova relocated to California to assume a number of winemaking roles. She has worked for numerous iconic wineries in CA including Robert Mondavi Winery, Souverain, Beringer, and Chateau St. Jean. She was also involved as a contestant in the Ningxia Winemaker Challenge making wine in Ningxia, China with Lansai Chateau from 2015-2017.
In 2017, she became the first female winemaker to become an MW in the US and in 2014, Cadamatre was named to Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 list. She has numerous 90+ scoring wines to her credit and writes her blog at www.novacadamatre.com
Because Fongyee is joining us from China, this webinar will be exceptionnally at 11:00am ET
From the climate to legislation, from equipment to personnel, growing and making wine in China has unique challenges to overcome. This webinar will delve into the trials and rewards of producing great wine in China, looking at 5 of the major growing regions, while outlining the history of viticulture in China and throwing light on the position that grape wine holds in Chinese culture both now and in the past.
Fongyee Walker MW (Master of Wine) is the co-founder, with Edward Ragg, of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, Beijing’s first and fully independent wine consulting and education service (est. 2007). Fongyee has delivered both WSET course and special trade-targeted wine courses in Mandarin for such bodies as Wine Australia, the Hawke’s Bay Wine Association, the Napa Valley Vintners and numerous other groups, as well as creating a number of unique wine courses specifically tailored to mainland Chinese students. She became the first Master of Wine (MW) resident in mainland China in 2016 with her dissertation on winter vine burial practices in Hebei and Ningxia.
As a wine judge, Fongyee has judged at numerous wine competitions including the International Wine Challenge (UK), the Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Competition and has been guest international judge for the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, Old Mutual Trophy (South Africa) Wine Show, the Qantas Western Australia Wine Show, AWOCA (Wines of Chile), the Hunter Valley Wine Show as well as many other regional wine shows. Fongyee has also written articles for Decanter Magazine, Wine Review, RVF China and Wine in China, among other Chinese wine magazines. She has also been a columnist for Decanter China, writing about educational issues.
Fongyee is also the star of Wok ’n Wine 品尝中国, a popular internet-broadcast show about food and wine matching with Chinese cuisines with more than 4 million viewers, as well as a new show (2021) Carpe Vinum 意大利美酒之游, featuring the wine and food of Italy.
After frost season, bloom (flowering) is the first real milestone of the vintage. Harvest follows approximately 100 days after this event. Now that the growing season is in full swing, weather has real repercussions for how the vintage shapes up.
Grapevines have what are known as “perfect flowers.” They have both male and female parts; they self-pollinate. This means that they do not need insects such as bees for pollination to occur (as is common in many other fruits), nor is wind necessary (as is common in some tree species).
With warmer weather, bud break comes quickly. The tiny buds swell and then quickly reveal small, fuzzy, green leaves as the shoot primordia begin to elongate. These shoot primordia will become fully developed shoots over the next few weeks!
Although the exact timing of bud break varies from location to location and from year to year, cooler growing areas can have bud break as late as May; warmer regions as early as March. Either way, bud break officially starts the new vintage for the vines!
After several months of dormancy, the first signs of the new vintage begin to show in March (in temperate to warm climates). The fresh pruning wounds begin to “bleed.” This initial sap flow is triggered by rising temperatures. Shortly after the bleeding stops, the buds will begin to swell.
February is still a relatively quiet time in the vineyard. Pruning continues in warm climates while in cold climates it may not begin until March or later. This is primarily due to the risk of winter bud kill. Different varieties have different tolerances for cold. February, in the northern hemisphere, has historically been the coldest month in the calendar year and a cause for worry.
WSG launches “Vine to Wine,” an exciting, new blog series that will chronicle what is happening in the vineyard and in the winery each and every month of the calendar year. Nova Cadamatre, MW and winemaker, will author these authoritative and detailed posts drawing upon her studies (Cornell Viticulture and Enology graduate) as well as her winemaking experience in California, China and the Finger Lakes.
Each “Vine to Wine” installment will detail that month’s vineyard and winery tasks with deep dives into a particular grape growing or wine making topic such as pruning methods and training systems or barrel aging and fermentation vessels.
The series is designed to give wine students and educators an opportunity to develop or hone their technical savvy.
January is a very quiet time for the winery in the northern hemisphere. It is the in between time when the last vintage is quietly waiting in maturation and the next vintage has yet to start. In cold climates, all eyes are still on the weather to ensure that the depths of winter do not bring damage to the dormant buds. The buds hold the entire shoot and cluster primordia (more on this in February’s post) for the new vintage and each variety has a different tolerance to the cold… so monitoring the risk of damage is very important.