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Sep 25

Burgundy harvest begins in sunny weather

Tag: Länder,Regionensigi.hiss @ 10:18

Fine, cold and dry: Burgundy harvest begins in sunny weather
Beaune, September 23rd 2008
For some years now, Burgundy grapes have been harvested in early September. This year represents a return to normality! The Burgundy vineyards being more northerly, things are done later here than in the South of France. The grape harvest traditionally coincides with the beginning of autumn. With
picking expected to start around 25 September, 2008 marks a return to form.
It takes between 90 and 100 days for grapes to ripen fully after the vines have flowered. In the earliest sectors this year, the first flowers were observed in early June. Rather cool and wet weather during this period caused some flowers to fail to set, and in other cases the young berries did not develop. In late-flowering sectors, the grape yield was better, as summer weather conditions returned from 21 June.
The weather from then on was generally changeable. Some sectors were affected by violent hail storms,
resulting in localised but in some cases significant losses. In any case, hail does not affect the quality but only the quantity of the harvest: no grapes will be picked from the damaged vines.
In these rather disturbed conditions, though the grapes began to change colour in mid-August as a prelude to ripening, the process was not completed until the beginning of this month.
In the last ten days, the grapes have fully benefited from the renewed sunshine to ripen to maturity. A cool
north wind has been blowing, keeping the vines in a satisfactory state of health. The chill wind is no problem; plenty of sunlight is the key factor at this stage in the game.
The Burgundy Wine Office (BIVB)’s Observatoire du Millésime has been checking the state of the grapes
since 21 August. Tasting and analysis of the grapes at this stage suggests that it will be a good year for
Chardonnay. This is because a high level of acidity, which is the case this year, is an indicator of quality,
giving the white Chardonnay wines an agreeable freshness. Crémants (sparkling wines) will benefit in the
same way. As for Pinot Noir, a more fragile grape variety, the return of more clement weather, dry and with
plenty of sunshine, is helping the grapes to develop in terms of sugar content and colour. This means the
growers can wait a few more days before beginning the harvest, allowing the Pinot Noir grapes to develop
their aromatic potential a little more each day.
In Burgundy, then, the harvest is beginning in sunny conditions. They began picking the Crémant grapes
around 20 September, but most growers will be making a start between now and the end of the month.
As for volumes, the mid-July estimate was that quantities would be very much in line with recent years
(approximately 1.5 million hectolitres).

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