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Harvesting starts in Champagne

The harvest has begun in Champagne with the region expecting “an excellent yield” following last year’s difficult vintage.

Picking was officially allowed to commence in Champagne on Saturday, although harvesting is expected to begin in earnest next week, with start dates spread between 20 August and 6 September, depending on the location of the vineyards in 34,000 hectare region.

The timing of the harvesting is guided by the Réseau Matu, which is a network of hundreds of representative vineyard plots spread across the appellation.

Data from these sites allow the Comité Champagne, with the assistance of volunteer professionals, to track and analyse the progress of grape ripening in real time, allowing the region to find optimal harvest dates.

As previously reported by db, Champagne growers and houses decided to set an available yield of 12,000 kilos per hectare for the 2022 harvest, which is the highest level in 15 years.

“Following the remarkable rebound of Champagne shipments in 2021, including record shipments to the United States, Champagne is expecting an excellent yield in 2022,” said Jennifer Hall, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA.

Champagne shipments in the first half of 2022 were close to 130 million bottles globally, representing an increase of 13.8 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

Champagne shipped 320 million bottles last year, its highest volume for a decade, and 75m more than 2020, when Covid had its greatest impact on the sparkling wine region.

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