The standards agreed for this year ensure wine quality optimisation, proper use of Grape Grower’s Cards and compliance with both maximum permitted production and maximum grape-to-wine ratios.
In addition, new this year, is the introduction of individual qualitative stocks, pioneered by Rioja, implementing the yield reserve originally proposed by the wine industry in 2007.
As is normal at this time of the year, the Plenary Session of the Control Board of the DOCa Rioja approved this morning this year’s Harvest Season Standards. After the complex situation of 2017 and ensuing discussions about stock balances in the wine region, the voluntary qualitative stock has been reintroduced. The system, proposed as far back as 2007, is implemented both at the individual and collective levels. The qualitative stock marks a new milestone in Rioja, demonstrating that it is once again pioneering leading advances in qualitative matters.
This year’s vintage is viewed with great optimism so, in order to defend and improve quality and preserve volume balance to ensure Rioja’s current needs are met, the Control Board Plenary set an equivalent harvest yield of 118% for this year. This means that 7.670 kilograms per hectare will be allowed for red varieties and 10.620 kg/ha for white grapes.
Within this, the Maximum Certifiable Yield will be an equivalent to 110%, leaving a stock of 8% (520 kilos per hectare for red and 720 kg/ha for white).
Exceptionally, should incoming volume surpass Harvest Yields, there would be no negative consequences for growers, provided maximum yields set out in the Designation Specifications are not exceeded. Any wine exceeding the grape-to-wine ratio set for this year will be sent for distillation.
The grape-to-wine ratio is set at 72 litres of wine for every 100 kilograms of grapes.
The individual qualitative stock system, allows for an additional 20% on certified production over a period of three years. Since it is voluntary, growers and wineries not wishing to use it have to expressly waive this option before 30 November each year.
In case of waiver of the individual qualitative stock, the margin of deviation due to weather will be the full difference between maximum certifiable yields and the fixed harvest yield, and the resulting wine will have to be sold as common table wine. The stock creation agreement must be expressly executed and reflected in the grape sale and purchase agreement between the grower and the operator, and volumes are to be specifically set out.
To maintain the system, two years from the start of its implementation, it will have to be either expressly ratified or reviewed. Should a decision be made not to proceed, the stock creation will be finalised, allowing for the unblocking of stock until the wine expires, and this will not have any retroactive effect. Individual qualitative stocks will not be applicable to wines from viñedos singulares.