Latest on the 2016 wine harvest

Harvest 2016

Workers hand-groom each cluster of dried grapes, Donnafugata winery, Sicily. Credit: Meg Houston Maker.

It’s been a turbulent year of weather in France and winemakers in several regions went into the 2016 wine harvest having already suffered at the hands of hail, frost and rot.

This was a year when Burgundy suffered its worst frost since 1981. Hailstorms led to growers declaring ‘states of catastrophe’ in Chablis and Beaujolais. Loire and Champagne producers also suffered at the hands of the early season freeze. Languedoc winemakers thought they had survived relatively well until those in Pic-St-Loup north of Montpellier were hit by hail stones the size of golf balls.

Bordeaux came through reasonably unscathed, but drought-like conditions at the end of August left many producers praying for rain. It’s really been a year of two halves for the Bordelais, as Decanter contributing editor Jane Anson said in an early report on the Bordeaux 2016 crop.

Elsewhere in Europe, it’s still early days for many, but there has been promising talk emerging from northern Italy and also England in late September.

In California, winemakers are looking forward to a year of more normal yields after a relatively small and very early 2015 harvest.

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