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Roussillon hopeful of quality harvest despite heatwave

Harvest time came early for the Roussillon region in France, with the first pickings recorded in early August, and despite a reduced yield caused by local heatwaves, producers are hopeful about the quality of the 2022 vintage.

Roussillon hopeful of quality harvest despite grape size

Due to the exceptionally hot weather, the harvest began earlier than usual in Roussillon with the first pickings recorded as early as 3 August.

Small grain muscat was the first varietal ripe and ready for picking, despite its diminutive size.

The intense heat in Roussillon meant early flowering, maturing, and harvesting. In most cases, this also led to lower yields as vines struggled to retain moisture.

Challenges faced across late June and July were no match for this year’s grapes, as the good sanitary state of the vineyards currently indicates a promising vintage.

Weather throughout the year showed promising signs early on. Abundant September rains meant adequate water reserves for vines. Temperatures in May and June allowed ample vegetative growth.

Roussillon was also spared the frosts which adversely affected other French regions, enjoying a good winter and spring season.

Flowering started mid-May, approximately 10 days earlier than normal, with healthy bud burst and good fruit set across all varietals.

Late spring brought the first heat wave with temperatures rising rapidly. Roussillon recorded unusually hot winds, with the drying Tramontana wind keeping vines disease-free.

The very end of June marked the beginning of a challenging month for the French wine region. The Syndicat des Crus requested the authorisation of irrigating vineyards, which was granted by the INAO, in view of the extreme draught conditions.

Garrigue fires started on 29 June reaching some vines planted at the edge of woodlands.

July’s sustained heatwave lasted until 24 July with three consecutive weeks of temperatures exceeding 30°C recorded in Perpignan. Direct heat damage on berries was observed mid-July in certain areas as temperatures peaked.

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