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Record-breaking weather means Champagne harvest will begin in August

Published:  27 July, 2018

The 2018 Champagne harvest will become only the fifth vintage in the last 15 years to begin in August, according to the Comité Champagne.

Record-breaking rainfall of 345 mm between November 2017- January 2018, flowering in early June, and consistently good weather in July were the reasons behind an early harvest, the trade association which represents Champagne’s producers and houses said.

The news comes as the body revealed that the available yield for 2018 had been set at 10,800 kg/ha – the same figure that was set in 2017.

“This volume satisfies the needs of the Champagne producers while maintaining a globally balanced stock level,” Comité Champagne stated.

“This harvest is expected to be generous in volume and, to date, of good quality. It should provide the means to restock levels of reserve wines, widely used in the last two years.”

However, Tim Hall, champagne specialist and importer, at Scala Wine described the figure as “quite conservative given that the conditions this year have been near perfect”.

“The natural yield held on the vines is huge – it could be 15,000 kg/ha but it’s set at 10,800kg/ha,” he told Harpers.

“That’s going to leave a surplus of grapes. It will be illegal to make them into Champagne. So they’ll either be left on the ground or if there’s a vast amount they can be collected and sold off to distilleries.”

Francoise Peretti, director, Champagne Bureau UK added: “The agreed yield level for this year’s harvest reflects champagne’s confidence in the future buoyancy of its export markets, at a time when quality has never been higher. Benefitting from exceptional weather conditions, it is expected that the 2018 harvest will yield some of its best quality grapes. It is anticipated that the first grapes will be cut as early as 25 August.”