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Champagne harvest "isn't all doom and gloom", says Bollinger

Published:  10 October, 2016

Champagne has had its fair share of challenges so far this year, with a slew of bad weather meaning that crop loss is as severe in some parts - as is the case in he Aube - according to Champagne Taittinger.

Champagne has had its fair share of challenges so far this year, with a slew of bad weather meaning that crop loss is as severe as 80% in some parts - as is the case in the Aube - according to Champagne Taittinger.

But while the overall the region has had it challenges and Champagne Bollinger has seen decreased yields, the team behind the Bollinger harvest is reporting positive results.

Andrew Hawes, managing director of Mentzendorff and chairman of the UK Champagne Agents Association, said: "Pinot Noirs from Grand and Premier cru vineyards on the Montagne de Reims, which was not badly affected by frost, are in excellent condition following eight weeks of perfect weather leading up to, and continuing throughout the harvest, with warm sunny days and cool nights. Yes, yields are down but the quality of all the grapes being harvested is high which bodes well".

Bollinger has just had one of the longest harvests in recent history, beginning on September 17 in Aÿ and finishing in Cuis on October 2.

Both the Verzenay and Verzy vineyards performed "extremely well" according to Hawes, with the Pinot Noir grapes reaching 10.6º and 11.3º respectively.

The view from the house this year is that Pinot Noir has high potential, and Chardonnay will have late maturity.

Meanwhile in Chablis, the region is also expecting reduced yields - more than 50% - but high grape quality, thanks to crushing spring storms followed by a good summer.

A Spring frost on April 28 damaged many of the growing buds, followed by two hail storms on May 13 and 27, which damaged many of the vines.

A wet period followed which encouraged mildew and other diseases.

Louis Moreau, vice president of BIVB Chablis, said: "This year has been a trying time for the producers and vignerons in Chablis. But we will not let this bring us down. It's not the first time this has happened in the region, and we are a hardy and positive thinking group of people.

"If anything, the appalling weather conditions have brought our community together even more. Neighbours have been working side by side helping each other during the harvest; and we have even been sharing our picking teams, as many of the vines have required hand picking in several passes to ensure that we harvest the grapes at optimum ripeness."