Overview about the 2022 vintage


Saturnalia collects, processes and analyses data – mainly from satellites – to deliver insights for the fine wines industry.

Our main advantage is scalability: thanks to satellite data, we can monitor several areas of the world at once and retrieve valuable insights.

We believe that accessing punctual and detailed analyses of vintages is acquiring more and more value in the industry. Our reports represent an introduction to our world: the reader may enjoy even deeper information by accessing our platform, including details on single wines.

The report first provides a general overview on the entire Barolo area. 

List of municipalities in Barolo

  • Barolo

  • Castiglione Falletto

  • Cherasco

  • Diano d'Alba

  • Grinzane Cavour

  • La Morra

  • Monforte d'Alba

  • Novello

  • Roddi

  • Serralunga d'Alba

  • Verduno

General overview

“Summer 2022 — a season marked again by historic heat waves, widespread drought and torrential rains — ranks among the hottest on record, according to data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)” [Washington Post] [1]

“The severe drought affecting many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year has been further expanding and worsening as of early August. Dry conditions are related to a wide and persistent lack of precipitation combined with a sequence of heatwaves from May onwards” [Global Drought Observatory] [2]

“Mio padre, dopo quasi 45 vendemmie, non si ricorda un anno come questo. Soprattutto con una tale siccità e con date di vendemmia così anticipate” [Lorenzo Scavino (Azelia)][3] (“My father, after almost 45 harvests, cannot remember a year like this, especially because of the drought and early harvest”)

2022 was by any means exceptional. Let’s have a look at some numbers to get an in-depth understanding.

  • A very warm and dry vintage overall
  • Rain (on average): 485 mm, almost 50% less than normal
  • Average temperatures surpassing the average of the last 10 years 103 times from May to August
  • Saturnalia Evolution Index showing stress and Saturnalia Variation Index distribution similar to 2017
  • General: very challenging vintage, with expected issues both in quality and quantity.
  • Our expectations: highly alcoholic and very concentrated wines

Rainfall comparison

The keyword for most of Europe this year was drought. And this is reflected in the trends that we see from the data.

Drought started in winter, with rain missing in January and February. March and April were also very dry compared to the average of the last 10 years. In general, the distribution of rain was very different from the average (left chart).

Further investigation on daily precipitation (see Figure 3) showed how rain made again its appearance in July with some thunderstorms [4] and with more continuous events in August. The chart is useful to compare 3 recent vintages: 2016, 2017 and 2022. 2016 works as an example of a vintage considered of very high quality; 2017 as a very hot vintage. Looking at precipitation, while 2016 and 2017 were more constant across the year, 2022 represents a true exception.

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Temperatures comparison

2022 has been reported as one of the hottest years in recent history. The growing degree days (GDD) chart shows exceptional warm days, especially from May onwards. Only September recorded numbers closer to the average. Moreover, by observing the GDD curve you may notice a sudden increase in temperatures in May instead of a gradual accumulation.

Furthermore, Figure 6 shows a comparison of a benchmark vintage (2016) and another very hot vintage, 2017. While 2016 was more gradual and presenting warm temperatures until September, 2017 and 2022 were more extreme.

2017 was very early – causing major exposure to frost – while 2022 started in May. More extreme hot temperatures were recorded in July and August 2022 in respect of 2017.

The difference in temperatures is even more evident by looking at maximum, average and minimum temperatures compared with their respective 10-year averages. From May onwards, temperatures have been constantly above average. The chart below shows the diurnal variation recorded during the season: most of the values are above average. High diurnal variation can favour freshness and acidity in grapes [5].

The warmest municipality, according to our data, was Verduno, followed by La Morra and Roddi. Considering the average of the last 10 years, Serralunga was the one with the greatest difference, 30.54%.

These numbers contribute to defining a picture of the trend for the season: very high daily temperatures, good diurnal variation and lack of water. Therefore, we expect high concentration and low quantity.

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