Following the warmest winter that the region has experienced for 12 years, spring arrived early with relatively low temperatures. In the vineyards, the grape bunches were more widely spaced out and slightly less dense than usual. It seems like although the crop is lower than in previous years, the quality of the grapes is high.
Over the spring season, there were many heavy rainfalls over most of Israel, although in the region of Yatir, these downpours were short, and not very frequent (only 3-5 mm of rain). This meant that the spraying of the vineyards for disease prevention, which is usually done after rainfall, was unnecessary.
The low level of evaporation in the spring, which is unusual for the Yatir region, led to prudent regulation regarding irrigation. There were also several heat waves at this time.
Despite the unusual weather conditions, the vineyards & crop look healthy and green. Following the initial analyses of the grapes, it was decided that the harvest would begin 10 days earlier than last year.
Within the first week, both Viognier and Shiraz were harvested, together with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (which was surprising and unusual, as they usually follow on later). The climate at this time was relatively pleasant, with cool, and often quite cold, nights.
This year, Yatir will also see an improvement in the harvesting procedures, and with the reception of the grapes at the winery.
Advancement has also been made by purchasing new oak barrels to allow a more subtle fermentation, which will express the character of the region in the wines.