AS Spaniards sweat, their precious grapes shrivel.
Thanks to the heat wave, the UPA Malaga, the regional union for farmers and small business owners, has declared a state of emergency for the vineyards of Axarquia.
Still two weeks from harvest time, the secretary of the organization Jose Gamez has announced that over 50% of the vineyards have suffered damage from the soaring temperatures.
The constant heat has dehydrated the vines, which kills the leaves, stunts the maturation of the grapes, and renders them unsellable.
Axarquia has been one of Spain’s most important wine countries for centuries, famous for its sweet white wines made of Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes.
The region has 1,900 hectares of vineyards, and produces on average 4,750 tons of grapes per season.
Axarquia’s vineyards are famous for their raisin production, as the region’s typical grapes are large and have a high sugar content.
The grapes are left to dry on traditional open-air beds, a practice used in the region for over a thousand years.
By law, farmers are required to leave 10% of their property unharvested to provide food for birds and support other plant line.
However, the UPA is urging the Andalucian Town Hall to make exceptions for farmers who have lost the majority of their crops to the heat wave.