Harvest Begins in Champagne

The opening dates of the 2019 harvest in Champagne have been announced, for all the villages and departments of the appellation.

The CIVC states: “The 2019 campaign has been marked by climatic shocks, with cool and humid periods alternating with hot and sometimes hot periods. Since the buds hatched, nature and some of the vine’s enemies have drained some of the initial harvest potential. Compared to other vintages, this year the grapes have more acidity and less color to the same degree (sugar richness). Aromatic maturity will therefore probably only be reached with high potential degrees, in the order of 10.5% flight. for Chardonnays and Black Pinots and 10% vol. for Meuniers”

The harvest, which began in Champagne this week, looks to be lower than in previous years. The vines of Champagne saw everything this year, from cold and rain to drought and heat, with the previous record for sunshine hours broken in February.

Spring frosts between early April and early May destroyed the vine buds across around 1,000 ha of vineyards, equivalent to three percent of the vineyard area. The heat and drought periods that began in June did not affect the vines.

The yield available for vinification this year was limited to 10,200 kg per hectare, which is slightly lower than in 2018 (10,800 kg per hectare).

The grapes from vintage 2019 show high acidity, but balanced color and sugar. In order to achieve the aromatic ripeness desired in Champagne, the grapes require a minimum alcohol content of 10.5% by volume for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 10.0% by volume for Meunier.

Champagne harvesting is done exclusively by hand to guarantee the integrity of the fruit for whole cluster pressing. The harvest is supported by 120,000 workers.

Source CIVC
https://www.champagne.fr/en/

2018 Champagne Harvest – A Vintage Year

The Champagne Harvest begins on August 21. The region has had a year

The Champagne Harvest begins on August 21. The region has had a year of extreme weather. Growers and houses saw record winter rainfall, with 345mm from November 2017 to January 2018. This beats the previous high of 338mm which was set in 1965, according to the Comité. A prolonged, cold winter has given way to good weather with flowering early June along with above average temperatures and sunshine hours.

Optimism around the 2018 vintage is high, said the Comité, which has set yields as 10,800kg per hectare.

Yields are set with one eye on the market. There is an assumption that global Champagne sales in 2018 will not grow significantly versus 2017 in volume terms, albeit exports were expected to lead any increase.

In the last 15 years, 2018 will be the fifth vintage. Global warming is also a local reality that Champagne growers and houses have taken into account.

Expecting stable sales in 2018 and a slight growth over the next few years (especially in the export markets, which now account for more than 50% of the total shipments), Champagne growers and houses agreed today to set the available yield at 10,800 kg/ha, the same level as in 2017. This volume fills the needs of the Champagne producers and maintains a balanced overall stock level.

This harvest is expected to be generous in volume and of good quality. It should also make it possible to reconstitute the Champagne reserve, widely used in the last two years.

Champagne Announces 2016 Harvest Dates

 

The Champagne region has announced the start dates for the 2016 harvest.  Commencing today (September 12) through to September 26h there will be over 120,000 pickers, porters, loaders and press operators descend on the vineyards of Champagne for the harvest – the moment every winegrower has been waiting for.

Each harvest is different in terms of grape ripeness, potential alcohol levels and natural acidity – so picking the right moment to harvest is essential.

A ripening observation network for the accurate timing of harvests.

Twice a week, just as the grapes start to change colour (véraison), samples are taken from some 450 control plots spread throughout the Champagne area. The selected clusters are then checked for rate of colour change; average weight; estimated sugar and total acidity content; also for any incidence of grey rot.

The results are transmitted the same day via internet, so allowing the Comité Champagne to establish reference values for each parcel of vines, together with mean average values (potential alcohol levels and natural acidity) for each department and grape variety.

A data summary is then notified to the technical officers concerned, starting with the regional heads of the AVC (Association Viticole Champenoise). This enables them to attend the pre-harvest meeting with a very clear idea of when picking should start in their respective communes.

It is the pulp that contains the organoleptic compounds and elements required for effervescence (sugar, acidity, etc); and only pulp alone can deliver the desired clear, pale juice, bearing in mind that 3/4 of Champagne wines are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is specifically designed to avoid colouring or staining the musts when pressing black-skinned grapes.

Hence the need for manual picking, selecting whole, undamaged clusters that must remain that way right up to the point of pressing itself. The clusters are transported to the press house in purpose-made bins with drainage holes that allow any juice to escape, so preventing the berries from macerating in their own juice.

Manual picking remains the tradition in Champagne – the requirement for whole, undamaged grapes is the same today as it was in the 18th Century.

Pickers have roughly a three-week window in which to work – beyond that point the grapes will be past their best. Just to complicate matters, all Champagne grapes reach their peak of ripeness at about the same time.

Some 120,000 pickers work in teams (‘hordons’ in French) of four per hectare, of which nearly 100,000 are given bed and board by the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses.

Harvesting employs:

  • Pickers
  • Porters (of grape bins)
  • Loaders (of bins)
  • Loaders of bins onto trailers
  • Loading bay handlers
  • Drivers
  • Forklift truck operators
  • Press operators
  • Fermenting room operators
  • And Cooks

Maximum yield per hectare

Yield regulation

  • The harvest base yield fixed by the INAO is 10,400 kg/ha, revisable upwards or downwards depending on the quality and quantity of the yield but capped at 15,500 kg/ha for AOC production.
  • The rationale for capping yields lies in the high-density planting system in Champagne, with vines planted very close together (8,000 per hectare) to improve ripening and therefore quality. Limited juice extraction – just 102 litres of must per 160 kg of grapes – is a key part of this policy and brings the final yield to 66 hectolitres per hectare.

The full list of dates can be viewed here www.champagne.fr

IT’S HARVEST TIME IN CHAMPAGNE !

The 2011 Champagne harvest has begun and with a combination of early flowering, low rain levels in the spring and plenty of summer sun make it one of the earliest picking seasons since 1822, the Champagne Bureau said Friday.

Three grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, are being harvested across the French region and weather forecasts are favorable for the next few days.

“As we celebrate another successful harvest from this unique region, we are reminded of the importance that location plays in every bottle of wine and renew our call on the United States to join the majority of the rest of the world in reserving the term Champagne only for wines made with grapes from this specific place,” said Sam Heitner, U.S. director of the Champagne Bureau.

“This year, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the region’s trade body, has raised the amount of grapes that can be harvested in a given area to 12,500 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha),” says Heitner. “They believe that this will keep Champagne on track to meet the growing demand. This is good news for Champagne enthusiasts everywhere, as more people will be able to enjoy real Champagne, which can only come from Champagne, France.”

Liz Palmer

Wine and Travel Writer
http://about.me/lizpalmer
http://lizpalmer.wordpress.com
www.boutiquechampagnehouses.com
http://twitter.com/champagnehouses

Champagne Harvest Is Set for August 20th – Earliest in 189 Years

France’s 2011 Champagne harvest is set to be the earliest in 189 years according to Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne “CIVC”. The CIVC expects picking to begin on August 20th due to an unusually warm April this year.

The local weather reports have also recorded that April and May have been exceptionally sunny with temperatures five degrees above normal, and with one of the driest springs in over half a century.

Will this year’s harvest be exceptional? Time will tell!