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Champagne sets dates for ‘extremely early’ harvest

The 2011 Champagne harvest will be one of the earliest on record, with picking allowed to start as early as 19 August.

Photos: CIVC Epernay

The region’s trade body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC) has permitted the earliest ripening areas to pick from 19 August including the villages of Cumieres, Sacy and Damery in the Marne Valley, and Buxeuil, Neuville-sur-Seine, and Polisot in the Aube.

Thibaut le Mailloux, communications director at the CIVC, told decanter.com ‘2011 is going to be an extremely early harvest in the region of Champagne, missing the absolute record of 2003 by one day only.

‘The 2011 harvest is indeed starting on August 19 in several crus of the French departments of L’Aube and La Marne, for Pinot Noir and Meunier – and as soon as on the 20 for Chardonnay. 90%¨of the vineyards will basically have started to harvest by August 25.’

The only other harvest that commenced this early occurred 189 years ago, in 1822.

All but two crus are allowed to harvest their grapes before September with the two late starters – Baye and Germaine in the Marne – required to wait until 1 September to harvest their crop.

The early ripening Pinot Meunier is the first variety to be picked, followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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