After some very hot and sunny weather in June and July, with temperatures up by 2.8°C on average compared to seasonal norms, August was more “normal”, up by just 0.7°C. The only downside was a lack of rainfall that has been going on since the beginning of the year, along with frost damage in the Mâconnais, and widespread millerandage plus shatter that will have an impact on harvest yields.
However, the few showers that occurred over the summer triggered véraison in mid-August and the grapes continued to ripen at a steady pace. The first harvests of grapes for making Crémant de Bourgogne began on 31 August in the southern part of the Bourgogne winegrowing region.
Picking for still wines began during the first week of September, from the Mâconnais to the Côte de Beaune. The Côte de Nuits, Chablis and the Grand Auxerrois began a little later, between 13-15 September. The Hautes Côtes, always a little later, will be picked during the second half of September, or even early October.
François Labet, President of BIVB and winegrower in Vougeot, described this year’s harvest as a “W” shape. “I mean that we are going from one plot to the next, from north to south and from south to north. There is nothing usual about it at all!” Indeed, the ripeness of the plots varies according to whether they had rain or not.
Although the harvest looks like it may be less generous than normal in terms of yields – in particular in the Mâconnais, which was hit by springtime frost and shatter, and the north of the region, with very little rain in Chablis since the end of June - the quality of the grapes suggests a very fine vintage. The perpetual challenge is to pick the grapes at the point when ripeness, sugar, and acidity are ideally balanced.
Years that end in a nine are historically very good vintages for Bourgogne wines… so confidence is high.