The Rioja 2009 vintage has become one of the earliest in history.

The last grapes of the 2009 harvest were picked in vineyards near Haro on 26 October, making it one of the earliest harvests in the Rioja region, having started two months earlier in Aldeanueva del Ebro on 27 August.

The total production was of 412.3m kg of grapes, the Rioja Regulatory Council revealed today (6 November).

The growth cycle ran around ten days earlier than previous years, starting with flowering in May/June. High summer temperatures of up to 37°C meant that alcoholic maturity was reached earlier than usual, the council said.

The volume of grapes by 657 wineries was the same as that of 2007, and said to be larger than last year's harvest.