Harvest starts in Champagne
Despite the fact that the whole of France is experiencing a late harvest, producers are professing to be confident about quality.
Harvest has officially begun today in Champagne on September 24, almost two weeks later than usual.
From today, growers in the Côte des Bar area have the official go-ahead to harvest their grapes, with their counterparts in the Marne permitted to start Wednesday.
“The start date given is set by law, but from then on it is up to every grower to decide when to harvest according to the maturity of their vineyards and their picking teams,” the regional wine trade association, the CIVC, declared.
“The vast majority of the harvest should start in late September in order to benefit from weather that looks favorable for the final maturity of the berries,” explained Pascal Férat, president of the union of growers, the SGV.
Férat noted that the vines have been approximately two weeks behind the region’s 10-year average after a particularly cold and rainy spring, but there is very little disease pressure.
“This delay has not compromised the quality of the wine. In the past, we have had a number of late years that produced great vintages,” he said.
Meanwhile, harvest has also come late to the Jura region. With its sparkling harvest starting today, with grapes destined for still wine due to follow on September 30.
“The yield will be relatively low, but because of the sunny weather expected this week, we are quite confident about the quality of the crop,” said Daniel Cousin, head of the Jura wine association.
This year's harvest of the region's most notable white variety, savignan, which makes vin jaune, will be particularly small, according to Marie Darnand, a local viticulturist. “The bunches didn’t form very well due to the cold weather in May,” she said.
Alsace has also been affected by the cold spring, which has resulted in the sparkling harvest finally starting on September 19.
“The 2013 harvest is late compared to the past 10 years, but Alsatians with long memories know that an October harvest can happen. It was the norm in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Frederic Bach, director of the Alsace Winegrowers’ Association.