With this year’s Champagne harvest now underway, the Comité Champagne has said Champagne expects to lose close to 30 per cent of yield due to frost, with an additional 25 to 30 per cent lost to mildew.
In addition hail damaged 500 hectares in the region and it is expected half of that area will lose its whole crop. However, because Champagne has large amounts of wine in stock, it is not expected that this year’s low harvest will impact supply.
In addition, Comité Champagne, the trade association which represents the houses and grape growers of Champagne, said the quality of this year’s vintage remains high and because the region always picks its grapes by hand, this helps ensure only the best grapes are selected.
“Variations in ripening across the vineyard call for an approach to harvesting that is adapted to suit each part of the vineyard. We are ready to help all players conduct their harvests in the best conditions and so guarantee grapes of the best quality,” said Maxime Toubart, Co-President of the Comité Champagne.
Weather conditions in 2021 have been challenging for growers in the region, with a 12-day period of frost at the beginning of the year, hail on several occasions, then persistent rain in spring which encouraged mildew in the vines. These various hazards have caused big differences in the yield and maturity of the grapes, from parcel to parcel and/or varietal to varietal.
“The people of Champagne are accustomed to work in difficult conditions,” said Co-Président of the Comité Champagne Jean-Marie Barillère.
“They take pride in dealing with each year’s conditions to produce the great wine that is Champagne.”
This year’s harvest is taking place between September 6 and 27, and as in 2020, the Champagne sector will apply stringent health precautions at harvest time to guarantee the health and safety of the harvest workers.