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Burgundy braces itself for smaller harvest

Burgundy is anticipating a patchy 2016 harvest following “challenges” caused by spring frosts, the BIVB has said – with yields potentially dipping by around 25%.

Frost in Chabis

The Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) has said there were questions around the volume of grapes likely to be harvested in the coming weeks, after a survey carried out among winegrowers found yields could be down by as much as 27% from the average. This would suggest a harvest of around 1.1mHL – 1.2mHL, it said.

It comes on the back of frosts in late April that were described as the most severe since the early 1980s, which were reported to have hit the entire length of Burgundy from Chablis to the Maconnais, including many areas that normally escape similar freezes.

It said vines in area hard-hit were likely to produce “few or even no grapes at all” while areas that escaped were likely to see a more “generous” harvest, even though it was likely to take longer to harvest the grapes than usual.

Despite good weather throughout August and September, which had helped make up for lost time, poor weather in the Spring had triggered complications that were “making things tricky for producers”, the BIVB said.

However the organization it said it was not “all doom and gloom”.

“Nothing is set in stone, given how experiences have differed from one estate to the next,” it said. “The grapes are maturing at a good rhythm and some have made up for the time lost in the spring.”

New BIBV head

Last month the organization appointed the former deputy managing director of lobby group AgriMer, Christian Vanier, as its new md. Vanier is currently the director general of the French Institute for Horses and Riding (IFCE), but has also worked in regional government in the agriculture department in the Soane and Loire region.

He will take over from md André Ségala, who has held the reigns since the organization was founded in 1989, in January 2017.

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