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Burgundy optimistic about 2022 vintage, despite August heatwave

Published:  26 September, 2022

Early indications suggest that Burgundy will produce a good volume of high-quality wine from the 2022 vintage, exceeding initial expectations.

According to Cécile Mathiaud, head of PR at the BIVB (Bourgogne Wine Board), “after historically low volumes in 2021, followed by some tricky weather during the growth cycle, the 2022 vintage is proving to be a pleasant surprise, and one that combines both quality and quantity”.

Nevertheless, the growing season was far from uneventful. Early budding was followed by plummeting temperatures in April, substantially increasing the risk of frost attacks. “A mass of cold air from the north then caused temperatures to drop across Bourgogne, which once again had to take arms to fight four nights of frost between 3-11 April,” said a representative from the BIVB.

“Winegrowers feared the worst, but luckily, the damage was nothing like that experienced in 2021, even if some early sectors did suffer badly. After a speedy start to the growth cycle in mid-April, spring-like conditions set in, and growth was fast. Just one month later and the first flowers were spotted in the most advanced sectors. Flowering happened across the region with a two-week head start on the average and in warm and dry weather.”

    • Read more: Depleted yields create ‘tension’ following a stellar year for Burgundy exports

In tandem with much of western Europe, Burgundy experienced a very warm spring; winegrowers initially believed that 2022 was set to be one of the earliest harvests on record. However, thunderstorms hit Burgundy from 21-25 June, injecting moisture into the soil at a critical stage in berry development. Yet, confirmed the BIVB, the summer was overall extremely hot and dry.

“The drought had little impact as vines withstand hydric stress very well, although those growing in shallow or sandy soils did suffer more,” said Mathiaud.

She added: “It was noted during the first half of August that some vines were evolving more slowly than others, indicating a lack of water. Winegrowers began preparing for harvest while praying for rain, and were blessed with showers mid-month, which had an instantly beneficial effect where they fell.”

Burgundy started picking grapes intended for Crémant de Bourgogne on 16 August. Meanwhile, growers began to harvest Chardonnay from the Côte de Beaune on 20 August The last grapes were gathered on the Côte de Nuits, the Hautes Côtes, and in Chablis during the third week in September.

Mathiaud said that the long harvest period – almost a month – was due to diverse ripening, good weather, and unhoped-for volumes.

“The grapes harvested were in fine condition and wonderful health. The sorting tables were mainly used to eliminate a few dried-out berries. The yield in terms of juice was surprisingly good, and the general consensus is that the musts are balanced with controlled degrees of alcohol and good acidity,” she said.

“This vintage, a vintage of the kind we were all hoping for, is dedicated to Louis-Fabrice Latour, who died in early September. Former president of the Bourgogne Wine Board and the Fédération des Négociants Eleveurs de Bourgogne (FNEB), and very involved in the world of wine on a national and international level, he would have been delighted by this fabulous harvest.”