Picking began in Sanlúcar on Monday. Traditionally it begins later than in Jerez because the vineyards nearer the coast ripen later. One of the most important cooperatives, Covisan, which has a membership of some 170 growers and sells mosto to bodegas like Argüeso, La Guita, La Gitana and Elías Guzmán has begun to press the grapes. They foresee a 25% reduction in quantity; last year they produced about 5 million kilos and this year the likelihood is 4 million as the grapes contain less juice.
The other Sanlúcar cooperative, Virgen de la Caridad, which has 340 growers, expects to start tomorrow, Thursday. Samples indicate a decent sugar content of 11-11.5ᴼ Beaumé but the hot weather and especially the Levante wind have conspired to reduce the juice content of the grapes, and they are expecting a reduction of 25-30%, though they can’t be sure about that or the effects of the mildew till the grapes are pressed. Last year they harvested 7 million kilos.
About 50% of the 800 hectares of vineyard in the Sanlúcar area were affected by mildew at the end of May and early June causing considerable losses. The drying effect of the Levante, which blew more than usual this year, stopped the mildew but also reduced the water content of the surviving grapes, reducing the final yield yet further. The quality however appears to be very good. Of the 31 press houses registered at the Consejo Regulador, 27 are now working.