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Frost, hail and heat, but Bordeaux predicts ‘quality is there’ in 2022

Published:  06 September, 2022

Having experienced one of its earliest starts to harvest on record, and with climatic extremes to the fore throughout growing season, Bordeaux is predicting a “very promising” vintage, according to Vins de Bordeaux.

The first white grapes came in as early as 16 August, some 20 days ahead of normal, with the earliest red – Merlot from warmer sites – starting at the beginning of September.

Frosts in April, violent hail in June, drought through much of the season, and record high temperatures all conspired to produce small berries (15-30% down in size at Véraison) but developing good ripeness.

This was followed by rains from mid-August, when temperatures yo-yo’d between hot days and cooler nights, allowing for what Bordeaux describes as “particularly healthy” small berries, with a “good balance between acidity and freshness”.

Although far too early to deliver definitive figures, while yields are down, the quality of the harvest has helped mitigate some potential losses. Adaptation in the vineyard concerning climate change is also cited as an important factor.

The 2022 season set many new – and worrying – records, with a severe rain deficit in the first eight months (except June), plus monthly temperatures consistently being 1-3°C higher than average.

    • Read More: Can the wine industry survive desertification?

Vins de Bordeaux stated: “Winegrowers have been able to cope with this through advances in knowledge, tailor-made leaf removal and trellising, grassing over of the soil, and the deep rooting of the vine combined with its natural resistance to water stress.”

The harvest continues, with the first selections for dessert wines to be made in mid-September.