23 August, 2002

Timing the vendange right

The grapes will stay on our vines until August the 29th.

We had hoped for the 27th. The technicians of the CIVC have lit the green light at the 25th for the communes, where our vines grow, Soulières and Loisy-en-Brie.

But our cooperative does not want to open the game before Vertus, where most of the members grow their grapes. This commune quite extraordinarily starts four days after instead of before us.

The right timing
Too bad, since our Meunier-grapes contain 8 degrees in the upper and 7,5 degrees in the lower plot - there is still a bit of a distance to the preferred 9,5 degrees - but the rain of the summer, said to continue this week, makes the situation a bit too exciting.

One thing is, that sun would do good things to the vintage of 2007, at the moment it is ok but not your dream. Another, that we risk loosing a bit or a lot, if the grapes begins to rot, before we pick them. As little as two days can determine how many grapes we will eventually bring to the presses in a healthy condition.

Alain did joke with the president, that he will have to supply us with some other grapes if these ones will rot due to their descision.

Expectations: Ok
The grapeharvest in Champagne thus finally has started eight days later than the first predictions in May. Still very early compared to the normal start around September 20th. 20-30 yeas ago in October. The earliest communes are in the Côte de Sézanne, where the first flowers were also found.

In some ways this early harvest is a bit of a surprise. After a spring and summer where the sun has been rare, and clouds have covered the region more or less all the time.

The explanation is, that winter then spring was so unusually warm and beautiful. This gave the grapes such a lead, that even the bad weather that followed could not change the direction and speed, says the chief technician of the CIVC, Laurent Panigai, according to the newspaper l'Union.

Too little sun
A great vintage should probably not be expected from 2007. The grapes have simply not seen enough sun. The French Ministry of Agriculture expects a total yield from the French vineyards of 49,9 million hectoliters, which is five percent less than the average the last five years. In Champagne the chief technician of the CIVC estimates the expected yield as good.

The disease mildew, that has spread in several French wine areas this year, is still under control in Champagne.

The last excitement before the harvest will concentrate on the risk of rot. The situation is still ok in our plots. We just hope for sun and 24-25 degrees Celsius to secure a healthy yield. The vintners will deal with the rest.

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