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Early vintage arrives in the Loire

Published:  06 September, 2017

The Loire valley is heading full swing into an early harvest, with picking commencing on August 28 in Anjou - around 15 days earlier than in 2016.

Following a nail-biting spring when Europe's flagship wine regions reported extreme weather wreaking havoc on their crops, European producers are now preparing to separate grape from vine.

One such region is the Loire, where the region’s official body has reported an earlier than expected harvest for 2017.

Frost did affect vines back in April when much of France, Spain and Italy suffered widespread bud damage.

Yields in France are expected to be especially reduced, in some places up to 20% with authorities warning that the harvest could be the smallest in seven decades.

However, InterLoire estimates that volumes in the region in 2017 will exceed those of 2016 and reach the five-year average of 2 million hl.

Sunny days and fresh nights at the end of August were “exactly what was needed” to offset the region’s weather woes said Claire Duchene, the association's director, and have helped to produce high quality fruit.

Harvesting began in Anjou-Saumur on August 28 for the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes which will be used in the production of Crémant de Loire, Anjou and sparkling Saumur.

On September 1, harvest followed in Muscadet and in Touraine for Crémant.

The first Sauvignon grapes were harvested in Touraine on September 5.

Chenin and Cabernet franc harvests are expected to begin between 10-15 September.