Bordeaux wine estates start 2019 grape harvest

Harvesting has begun in Bordeaux for white varieties with the first reds expected to be picked around the 20 September and continuing into October.

In a return to a more “traditional” harvesting schedule, the Bordeaux Wine Council has said that grapes destined for Crémant de Bordeaux were picked from 27 August, alongside Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for still white wines.

The first reds, especially the Merlot, is expected to be picked from 20 September onwards and the Cabernets perhaps a little later into mid-October.

Late October or even November will see the multiple “passes” for picking botrytised grapes for Sauternes.

The Bordeaux Wine Council said weather at the start of the year was largely mild, with low disease pressure, which was no doubt a welcome change to last year when rot was a severe problem.

There were some “noteworthy” frosts however and some “localised hailstorms”. Summer temperatures were, at times, “scorching” which slowed the ripening somewhat and caused some water stress but this was relieved by rains in mid-August. The current weather is described as “ideal”.

In terms of yields, following a 2017 devastated by frost and 2018 ravaged by downy mildew, in 2019 volumes are expected to be in line with the 10 year average of around 5 million hectolitres.

Bernard Farges, president of the Bordeaux Wine Council, said: “We’re excited and enthusiastic as we tackle this stage of harvesting; it definitely marks the culmination of a whole year of work. All systems are go, technically speaking, which augurs well for a promising vintage.”

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