El Nino Challenges at Our Vineyards + Blending our 2015 Wines



The El Nino phenomenon on the Pacific side of the Andes Mountains has presented unusual challenges this year for our agronomy staff at the vineyards. 

The oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon known as El Niño occurs in the Pacific Ocean when the western coasts of Ecuador and Peru experience unusually warm ocean conditions that cause climatic disturbances. These extreme climatic conditions occur every three to seven years and can affect climates around the world for more than a year. The name El Niño, Spanish for "the child," refers to the infant Jesus Christ and is used because the phenomenon usually begins during the Christmas season.

Normally the Andes Mountains knock out most of the moisture from winds crossing South America from the Pacific Ocean.   Because of that “rain shadow” effect, Mendoza has a dry climate that is ideal for growing high quality grapes and making superb wines.

However this season we had an unusually cool and wet early spring in late 2015.   This El Nino effect has continued through the summer into 2016.

The vineyard staff has been actively dealing with the unusual weather.   They have put in 3 times the usual man hours.  Through canopy management and other steps, they have countered the El Nino effect.

We have been at the vineyards for a few days now.  The weather has been superb - sunny and warm.   Hopefully that will continue into the upcoming harvest season.  It is expected that harvesting of the various grape varietals will be delayed a couple of weeks from normal.   They will probably be harvested in the same sequence as usual, with the early-maturing grape varietals being harvested first.


Every year the optimal blend of our grape varietals is different

We began blending our 2015 wines on a preliminary basis last November .   Now we just finished the final blending this week.   Those final blends will undergo about another 6 months of barrel aging before they are ready for bottling.

The winery staff carried out a number of special operations to maximize the quality of the 2015 wines.  We are looking forward to enjoying the results.

Wayne Tamarelli