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Chablis confident of ‘excellent’ vintage

Chablis producers are confident of an “excellent” vintage despite the recent hail, which affected some 300 hectares in total.

Producers were been forced to begin harvesting slightly earlier than planned after a violent rain and hailstorm hit on the night of 31 August/1 September.

A clearer picture has now emerged of the extent of the damage after initial reports said anywhere between 2-15% of the vineyards – mostly premier and grand crus – had been hit.

A report from the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) has stated that 5% of the surface area in Chablis – 200-300ha – was hit in the storm. A “few” plots of premier and grand cru have apparently suffered “partial” damage.

Further south where the storm first hit, some 40ha in Saint-Bris were hit with losses ranging between 20%-50% in those plots, while Irancy was the worst hit with the appellation hit in its entirety and losses ranging from 5% to 60% depending on the plot.

The BIVB reported: “The episode caused major concern, but the damage is limited. The storm followed a straight line, sparing the majority of plots. Those vines that were hit by hail could be picked immediately as the grapes were ripe. A return to cooler, dryer weather also helps prevent any deterioration in the health of the grapes or the quality of the fruit.”

Unfortunate – and in some cases catastrophic – as the storm was, particularly after such a good growing season, the BIVB has said currently, “every indicator is positive” it will be a good vintage.

It stated: “The grapes are at optimum maturity and in excellent health, and winemakers are confidently talking about an extremely good year.

“The 2015 vintage promises to be a magnificent one right across the Bourgogne winegrowing region.”

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