Harvest over, first assessment

As the last tractors are being called in and the pickers returning to their daily jobs, it’s time for a first assessment of the 2013 vintage.
Just when the Cotes de Nuit district was praising Mother Nature for not sending hail storms their way, the promised sunny spells for early October didn’t materialize and instead, clouds and rain set in, making life for the pickers uncomfortable and for the estate owners a nightmarish battle to get the grapes in before the rot sets in.
Funny how situations change. The Cotes de Beaune district, blighted by the 23rd July hailstorm, decided to harvest a week earlier than their neighbors and, by doing so, avoided the bad conditions. The Chardonnays ripen earlier than the Pinots, which makes things easier. So they avoided the tedious grape selection and can almost be satisfied with this tactical decision. Nevertheless, yield will be down in both districts, the Cotes de Beaune losing this contest because of hail. I spoke to Jean-Louis Moissenet-Bonnard, president of the Pommard Vintners Association last Friday and he admitted that yield will be very low, with famous plots such as Les Epenots losing 60% of their grapes. This will inevitably have an effect on Prices, Jean-Louis predicting a rise of 30%!!
Wine estates in Vosne Romanee are worried that considerable rot on the grape bunches will need intensive sorting, leading to an inevitable reduction in yield.
The next two weeks will tell us the ultimate truth…

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