Champagne Harvest Comes Early


It’s official August holidays have now been cancelled Champagne in anticipation of an early harvest, possibly the earliest on record for a number of reasons.

Due to the warm weather in March and which continues into early June has caused flowering early this year. Flowering has generally been completed before the end of May, and this year, the vines were in full flower by 21 May. Adding 92 days, the average time over the past decade in Champagne between flowering and the start of the harvest—picking could start on 22 August.

Dominique Moncomble, The Director of Technical Services at CIVC said flowering has taken place around three weeks in advance this year and was especially early in the Côte des Blancs area.

However, August is usually warmer and has more sun than September, it is possible the period between flowering may be even shorter, perhaps 80 days, which means the first grapes may be picked on August 16.

The lack of rain this year could also accelerate the date. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon winemaker for Louis Roederer and Didier Mariotti, winemaker for GH Mumm are both ready to start early August, if not earlier.

The earliest harvest in the Champagne Region, on record, was during the ‘heat wave summer’ of 2003.

Photo by
Liz Palmer
May 24, 2011