Over 75 people will be working in the Regulatory Council to ensure compliance with the Rueda D.O. regulations, which seek to guarantee production quality

Rueda Designation of Origin, a leader in quality white wines in Spain, is starting its 2018 grape harvest with Sauvignon Blanc, a variety which has a shorter vegetative cycle and ripens earlier than other varieties. Over the next few weeks the harvest will expand to include wineries and the rest of the varieties, which will gradually become ripe for gathering, with the autochthonous Verdejo coming to term in mid-September.

The surface recorded for the 2018 grape harvest covers 16,164.92 hectares, 97.1% of which (15,711.64 hectares) correspond to white varieties. Verdejo accounts for 86.9% of these and is the principal autochthonous variety in the Rueda Designation of Origin.

Forecasts for this coming campaign are excellent. Marked nighttime and daytime temperature differences will contribute to ripening, in addition to the perfect health conditions of the vineyard.

Quality Controls
The main role of the del Rueda C.R.D.O. [Designation of Origin Regulatory Council] is to control quality, which means Technical Services are in full operation. They are inspecting grape origin, vineyard production per hectare, sanitary condition and quantity of each variety of grapes delivered to each of the wineries. They will reject any batches not in compliance with the requirements established under the Regulatory Council Regulations.

Some 70 harvest workers will be hired. They, along with the 6 CR overseers, will check the grapes entering each of the winery hoppers and conduct any controls required.

There are 1,525 Rueda D.O. wine growers registered in this campaign and two new wineries are expected to start production in the 2018 grape harvest:

• Rodríguez Sanzo, S.L.
• J. Fernando Bodegas y Viñedos, S.L.

Nocturnal and Machine Working
Rueda D.O. is known for harvesting grapes during the night using machines. These two factors have a decisive impact on wine quality. Mechanization provides for selective gathering by plots, depending on grape ripeness and the judgement of the enologist. Optimum gathering time can thus be identified, helping to increase the quality level of the grape batches entering the winery.

Nighttime harvesting likewise takes advantage of the low temperatures, reducing any possible oxidation to a minimum and preserving fruit organoleptic qualities in perfect conditions. It also improves the graduation/acidity balance, which is very important in achieving quality wines. Furthermore, when the grapes enter the wine cellars at lower temperatures, it creates significant energy savings.

Though grape-gathering is done in the dark, it is ultimately marked by the powerful light of the machinery used, achieving a harvest producing premium quality wines that make Rueda Designation of Origin a leader in D.O. white wines in Spain.