2022 harvest is a milestone for the D.O., the first that producers identify and separate grapes from selected plots destined for Cavas de Guarda Superior
VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDÈS —The 2022 harvest for Cava producers marks the first for the D.O. that grapes from plots dedicated exclusively to Cavas de Guarda Superior were separated at reception at the winery and during vinification. Sorting took place via a digital platform with approximately 100 monitors communicating data in real-time.
As of 2020, quality regulations have introduced the new Cava de Guarda Superior category as Cavas with minimum 18 months lees aging. Additionally, the grapes destined for these Cavas must come from specific vineyards, and, by 2025, must be sourced from 1005 organically farmed vineyards. Organic Cava production has increased by more than 245% in the last five years, from four million bottles in 2016 to 13.8 million in 2020. The president of the Regulatory Council, Javier Pagés, announced: “The organic vineyard surface area continues to grow due to the rising demand for Guarda Superior grapes.”
Although high temperatures and lack of rainfall during the growing season reduced overall volume for the 2022 vintage, the resulting grape quality was exceptionally high. Harvest kicked off earlier than usual at the beginning of August due to constant above-average temperatures and the successive heat waves in late spring and early. Even later-ripening varieties were harvested earlier than usual, making for a shorter, more condensed harvest season.
The harvesting of Cava grape varieties began in early August with the Macabeo variety in the Viñedos de Almendralejo, and in Comtats de Barcelona (more specifically, the Pla de Ponent sub-zone) with Chardonnay. Next, harvesting began in the Serra de Mar, Valls d’Anoia-Foix, and Conca del Gaià sub-zones. The last areas to harvest were the Valle del Ebro, the Levante zone, and the Serra de Prades sub-zone (located in the Comtats de Barcelona).
Lower yields within the D.O. Cava were in line with a general decrease in grape yields across other wine-producing D.O.s. The fruit was exceptionally healthy throughout the entire growing season, and grapes were harvested at optimal sugar ripeness with sufficient phenolic ripeness and acidity.
The D.O. Cava maintained its control and traceability requirements for this harvest, using technology to verify the origin of the grapes of all of the D.O.’s winery members. According to Javier Pagés, this task “is essential and positions the Cava D.O. among the most demanding designations in the world.” The traceability is reflected in the new quality certified labels that launched in the beginning of 2022 and are expected to gradually reach their maximum market availability in 2023.
About D.O. Cava
With more than 70% of international sales, Cava is the Spanish D.O. which exports the most wine: its 349 associated wineries are present in over 100 countries. The D.O. encompasses more than 93,900 acres of vineyards and more than 6,200 winegrowers. Cava is a quality sparkling wine that pairs perfectly with every type of food, and is made using the traditional method, with a strict commitment to origin, land, and sustainability.