The state of French vineyards just before August 2010

Below a news brief just published today (30 July) on I would like to add some input from Pascal Delbeck, winemaker at Tour du Pas St Georges, near St Emilion, who said that if August is hot and dry, there could be a risk of heat stress and a delayed harvest because of that. He said that 20mm of rain, twice, would be just what the doctor ordered… Anyway, read on 🙂

French wine regions take stock of 2010 harvest
July 30, 2010
by Jane Anson, and Panos Kakaviatos

As August approaches, wine regions across France are beginning to assess the quality potential of 2010.

In Champagne, yields have been set at 10,500 kilos per hectare, up 8% on 2009 (when it was 9,700), to reflect an increase in exports – although this is still a long way from the high in 2008 of 13,000 kilo per hectare.

In Bordeaux, according to Météo France, June was the hottest for 35 years, and the first two weeks of July were the hottest since 1921, raising fears of another 2003 harvest.

The heat has been mixed with rain, however, particularly after flowering in May, so there is some coulure (or ‘shatter’, where the grapes do not develop well after flowering).

Veronique Sanders at Chateau Haut Bailly told, ‘For the moment, the outlook is superb… the vines are magnificent and the harvest looks to be abundant.’

Alsace vintners expect a ‘classical harvest’, with some threat of mildew from recent rains – although the region had hot and dry weather throughout much of July.

‘We had a difficult flowering, too,’ said oenologist Thierry Fritsch of the Alsace Wine Union CIVA, ‘which delayed things for about three weeks.’

But the fine weather throughout most of July ‘accelerated the process so that we should expect a normal harvesting season, starting about mid-September.’

Paul Avril of Clos des Papes in Chateauneuf du Pape also expects a ‘more classic vintage’ with a later harvest than 2009.

In Burgundy, Sylvain Pitiot of Clos de Tart in Morey St Denis also evoked a difficult flowering period marked by coulure, because of cold weather and rain, which delayed the growing season for at least two weeks.

But ‘a super month of July’ has helped to speed up the process. ‘For most vineyards throughout Burgundy, I expect 2010 to have an average and perhaps slightly later than average harvest,’ he said.

Still, the coulure will mean that there will be ‘about 20% less volume compared to an average harvest,’ he added.

3 Responses to “The state of French vineyards just before August 2010” (Leave a Comment)

  1. Chris Overend says:

    One would have to wonder what the prices might be if in fact 2010 turns out to be an excellent vintage? Is thie pricing of the 2009 vintage now the norm in Bordeaux?

  2. pkakaviatos says:

    Now that is a very good point. So many parameters. Will the Chinese billionaires spend another $700 per bottle of La Mission, for example? When it is in bottle, of course, and from finance companies who are buying such futures for them…

  3. Andy Peltman says:

    Thanks for this blog. I am a big wine lover who bookmarks all of the articles I find when reading online. See you soon

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