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Bordeaux 2022 produces ‘high-quality grapes’ despite climate records

Published:  31 March, 2023

The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has released its 2022 vintage report, citing difficult climate conditions and one of the earliest harvests on record.

Despite these challenges, ‘high-quality grapes’ were still produced. Pruning was delayed to limit the risk of a late frost and customised leaf removal and trellising was deployed to protect bunches from the sun.

The report also highlights the deep roots of Bordeaux vines and their natural resistance to water stress as contributing factors to the good health of the grapes.

Due to the scorching summer and autumn temperatures, the harvest began 15-20 days ahead of the 10-year average.

However, the rains starting in mid-August breathed new life into the vines, slightly increasing the volume of the berries. Stimulated in parallel by the alternation of hot days and cool nights, the grapes were able to reach optimum ripeness, acording to the CIVB report. 

Ideal conditions at the end of September favoured the development of botrytis on the grapes. The weather conditions allowed for four to five successive passes through the vineyard up to the end of October.

Limited volumes

For the third year in a row, the volume of the harvest in Bordeaux is below the 10-year average, in large part due to the drought, which had a major impact on the overall yield of the 2022 vintage.

Extreme climate events also hit the vineyards in 2022, leading to significant losses in some cases. As a result, the volume of AOC wine produced in 2022 is 4.11 million ha, 11% below the 10-year average.

Final verdict

The early harvest had no adverse effect on the quality of the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux. The weather conditions from the end of August to the end of October were, “ideal for picking without haste and at perfect ripeness, despite the dates being earlier than usual”, according to the report.

The dry white wines are said to possess the characteristics of a good quality vintage, maintaining freshness and acidity despite the drought.

For the rosé wines, “the juices are just the right colour and full of flavour”, the report states. 

The juices from the red grapes are “exceptional, with perfectly ripe tannins and yet without excessive alcohol levels. The wines have a unique fruitiness, silky and concentrated without being heavy”.

The early-drinking red wines of Bordeaux, “have all the qualities of well-balanced wines with very nice freshness”.

And for those destined to remain longer in bottle, their ageing potential seems “particularly promising”, the report finds.

Bordeaux to benefit from Chinese resurgence?

Meanwhile, pent-up demand in China could add fuel to the fine wine market, and Bordeaux could be well-positioned to capitalise. 

The Cult Wines Global Index showed the market slowing in January (-0.52%), and while investors will be hoping this is just a blip, the resurgence of the Chinese market could help maintain the global supply/demand imbalance in place, as Europe and North America navigate looming recessions.

According to Cult Wine Investment: “An influx of Chinese demand for Bordeaux wines drove a surge in prices back in 2007-2008, and the region’s wines still form the largest outlet for Chinese demand, helped by strong brand followings, an important driver of performance potential in China.” 

Bordeaux wines may emerge as better value investments compared to pricey Burgundian peers. Cult Wines Bordeaux Index rose 13.68% from the beginning of January 2020 to the end of 2022, well below the Cult Wines Global Index mark of 42.58%, in large part due to Chinese inactivity.

As the campaign for a ‘high quality’ Bordeaux 2022 vintage gathers pace, investors might want to pay close attention to the region’s fine wine market performance in the year ahead, especially with quantity of said vintage likely to be scarce.