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Drought dries up grape production

Three-quarters of the grapes in certain areas of Malta, particularly around Rabat, were destroyed by the abundant rainfall in a short period of time. Photo: Marsovin

This year’s grape harvest was 25% lower than the average crop yield because of the very little rain, with the rain being so abundant the few times it poured that it actually did more harm than good, according to one of Malta’s main wine producers. Marsovin chief executive Jeremy Cassar said that although the agriculture year started off on the right track with abundant autumn rainfall last year, there was no rain at all through 2020, with the exception of two episodes which harmed the grape produce. A hailstorm late in May caused havoc in certain areas, with up to 75% of the grapes being lost in some vineyards. Cassar said the bulk of the old traditional non-irrigated indigenous Girgentina and Ġellewża vines was once again affected by the excessive drought conditions, with older vineyards suffering a considerable decline in production due to water stress, and in some cases resulting in the death of the vines. The colder than average winter months of 2019 led to the latest grape harvest on record last year resulting in grape bunches not reaching full maturity. Contrary to the previous year, 2020 saw a relatively warm winter which impedes abundant vine fertility, leading to lower...

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