Burgundy harvest suffers in summer heat

An uneven flowering and high summer temperatures will likely mean Burgundy’s 2019 harvest is much smaller than last year early reports indicate.

Reports from two leading négociant houses, Albert Bichot and Maison Louis Latour, indicate that while the 2019 vintage was very healthy and quality should be high, a tricky flowering period and hot summer weather have conspired to lower the crop substantially compared to last year.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Albert Bichot, told the drinks business that volumes may be down as much as 30-40% in some areas and affects both white and red crops.

The year began with a fairly mild winter, added Maison Louis Latour’s export director, Bruno Pepin, and May was very wet.

There was some frost in early April which hit the Mâconnais hardest but damage was not too extensive overall.

June also got off to a cool start which led to an uneven flowering with both millerandange and shatter being a factor in places.

The rest of the year was “ideal” but there was next to no rain during the summer months which, on the one hand, has led to superbly concentrated grapes but, on the other, a drastic reduction in volumes.

The quality, “is there” said Pepin and “potentially excellent” but in the Côte d’Or the crop may even be smaller than in 2016 – though this is yet to be confirmed by any official figures he continued.

The Burgundy Interprofession said in a statement: “The 2019 vintage is without any doubt a peculiar one. The weather events at the start of the growth cycle and the drought during summer had an impact on volumes that was more or less significant depending on the area.”

Deglise said that, “we do have wines but some allocations will be very strict.”

As it is, there is something of a buffer thanks to the large 2018 vintage but the problem of stock shortages is still an issue given the often small preceding harvests.

Pepin said that stocks of white wine were particularly tight and the company had even resorted to selling some of its 2018s already – six months early.

READ MORE: Burgundy 2018 – Biggest white wine harvest ever

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