Grape harvest quantities are down but quality is good


A year in the life of a grape starts from immediately after the last grapes are picked and the vines are pruned during the winter months all the way round to the next harvest. Everything that happens during the twelve months until the next harvest contributes to the quality of the grapes and ultimately the quality of the wine.

Factors affecting grape production are mainly the weather conditions together with pests and maladies. Ideally vignerons are hoping for twelve months with no extremes and everything in good balance.

The twelve months in question for the grapes recently harvested have been less than ideal, with bad weather in the spring bringing late frosts, rain, and in some areas even hail storms. Bad weather has caused a delay in the normal development of the grapes and there has been mildew that has been hard to treat. However, the long hot and dry summer has helped to ripen the grapes, albeit they are rather small with the heat wave arriving a month too late to really improve the situation.

Quantities are down by 9% in Occitanie (Languedoc-Roussillon), with 20%-30% reported in Hérault and as much as 30%-40% in Pic Saint Loup due mainly to the damage caused by an unexpected hailstorm in August.

The yield may be less, but 2016 wine is expected to be a good year - à votre santé!