Quantcast
Connect with us

Unusual weather means champagne harvest will be smallest in two decades

Published

on

First the bad news: there is going to be a lot less champagne to go round this year.

The good news: what there is could be outstanding.

After one of the worst spring growing seasons on record, producers of the world’s most celebrated bubbly are bracing themselves for one of the smallest harvests in the last 20 years.

But thanks to a hot and sunny August, all the signs are that the chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes that go into the king of sparkling wines will be packed full of flavour.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The vines suffered every possible disaster up to the middle of the summer,” admitted Champagne wine board (CIVC) spokesman Thibault Le Mailloux.

“We feared the worst but August turned things around and all the signs are that the harvest will be of exceptional quality.”

Heavy rain, destructive hail storms and late frosts have made it a stressful year for champagne producers.

A cold and wet spring prevented a good flowering of the vines, reducing the number of grapes in each bunch and promoting the appearance of millerandage, a vine disease that leads to unevenly sized grapes which ripen at different rates.

That was followed by frosts in April and May which destroyed the equivalent of 2,900 hectares (7,165 acres) and hail storms in June and July which accounted for a further 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) in an area where vines had already been traumatised by attacks of two types of mildew.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is going to be an atypical harvest to say the least,” added Le Mailloux. “It will certainly be one of the smallest of the last 20 years and it could be as much as 30 percent down on last year.”

The CIVC has set maximum permitted yields at 11,000 kg per hectare across the region, which translates into a potential 220.5 million bottles, 12 percent or some 30 million bottles down on last year.

The fall in output may well suit the producers however as the economic climate cuts demands for a drink that is intimately associated with good times and celebrations.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the first half of this year, champagne sales were down 6.6 percent on the same period in 2011, largely as a result of slumping domestic demand and lower orders from the rest of Europe. Sales to outside the European Union held up better with only a 0.8 percent contraction.

“The sales figures have not been great but 50 percent of our sales are made in the last four months of the year,” Le Mailloux added.

ADVERTISEMENT

The unusual weather and uneven ripening of grapes mean this year’s harvest will start in the middle of September and could run for 28 days, a week longer than is usual. That will allow some winemakers to harvest in two stages, ensuring the grapes are all of optimum quality.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Biden beats Trump to the punch with massive ‘Buy American’ spending package — and GOP allies are fuming

Published

on

Some of President Donald Trump's "economic nationalist" allies are furious that Joe Biden beat the White House to the punch with a "Buy American" policy push.

The president's former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the Washington Post's Jeff Stein that Biden's $300 billion domestic spending proposal was "very smart," and said the likely Democratic nominee had scored a win.

"The campaign and White House have been caught flat-footed," Bannon said. "Biden has very smart people around him, particularly on the economic side."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Fox News pundit: Tax returns ruling against Trump is ‘a win for him’ and ‘will help the president’

Published

on

Fox News pundit Katie Pavlich argued on Thursday that a Supreme Court ruling which opened the door for prosecutors to obtain Donald Trump's tax returns is actually "a win" for the president.

Pavlich made the remarks after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can request the president's tax records in a public corruption case.

"I think it's a win and a little bit of a loss for President Trump," Pavlich explained. "In the sense that he will now have to deal with a number of these issues and other presidents in the future will as well, whether they are valid requests for information or not and whether they are being made for political for reasons or for valid criminal investigations."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump melts down on Twitter after his own Supreme Court nominees rebuke him on financial cases

Published

on

On Thursday, following the 7-2 rulings from the Supreme Court rejecting President Donald Trump's claims of absolute immunity in the New York tax returns and House financial oversight cases, the president took to Twitter to complain.

In the thread, Trump whined that he was being unfairly targeted by the Supreme Court decisions — which were joined by the two justices he appointed — and claimed he was a victim of "prosecutorial misconduct."

We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAIGHT...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear....

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image