The 2011 grape harvest is scheduled for an early start in France but will not be as premature as first expected.
Bordeaux, Rhone and Champagne producers have all reported that picking will start much earlier than usual but cooler conditions and rain in late July have delayed previous forecasts.
Christian Seely, head of AXA Millésimes, which owns Pauillac estate Pichon Longueville-Baron estimates the Bordeaux red harvest will now be in the early part of September. ‘A month ago we thought it might be two weeks early. May and June was alarmingly hot and dry. Over the past few weeks we have had some cooler weather and some rain and that’s why we can put the date back a bit to one week early,’ he told decanter.com
In the Champagne region, producers are also anticipating an early harvest due to an unseasonably hot spring. A cooler July in the region has also slowed the vine’s maturity but Frédéric Rouzaud, president and CEO of Champagne Louis Roederer added, ‘It willl one of the earliest harvests in history due to a summer-like spring. It should start around 22 August.’
Further south, the Rhone Valley is similarly forecasting a premature harvest. Laure Vaisserman, head of media for Inter-Rhone, reported, ‘The latest observations in the vineyard indicate an advance of approximately 18 to 25 days on 2010.’
Written by Rebecca Gibb