Update 2021 Vintage in France

Update 2021 Vintage in France

This week we wanted to provide an update on the 2021 vintage so far. Yes, it is incredibly early on which can cause even bigger problems for a vintage. Let's take a look

Some of you may have seen similar photos to the above, Burgundy, Jura, Champagne, Bordeaux, and the Rhone experienced some threatening frosts this past week. Looking at where we are in the vintage, the buds are developing and just about to hit bud break, this can cause buds to freeze, the vines to shut down, or see more damage all resulting in no flowering or fruit production and much lower yields. This isn't something new to France, It is something they have been experiencing for quite some time, but in more recent years with climate change it seems to be landing at more pressing times. With that, many producers have ways of mitigating and trying to fight off this frost.

Beaune, which is pictured above, as did the most of France the other night lit their  "Bougies" these are small candles that are lit throughout the vineyards to try to create heat pockets to prevent the frost. It looks quite beautiful from up above, but something so beautiful can result in a pretty ugly vintage. Luckily, most producers were prepared. Other options are wind machines, which keep the air movement and produce some natural heat to protect the vineyard.  In parts of chablis we saw the use of sprinklers, which actually can freeze over the buds and acts as a protectant from the frost, shown above. 
Chardonnay seemed to see the most damage in Burgundy with Chablis experiencing quite a significant amount of loss. In the Jura, nearly 90% of crops were destroyed in some areas. In a positive light, we did speak to Charles Lachaux, who due to his farming methods, in which we have been talking about so much- did not seem to experience much damage at all for the Domaine and his personal wines. "Honestly, we are quite okay. We prune late and don't till. The vines were early and not sensitive to frost. it is still early to fully evaluate, but I think at the domaine we are in luck at the moment"  

As we see many producers moving towards different ways of farming, more biodynamic, regenerative, and natural styles of tending their vineyards;  trying to create environments that are as biodiverse as possible- will this allow the vineyards to change themselves with the climate resulting in less pressure from frost and other weather variables?

In the Jura, Benjamin Benoit said he ha experienced about 90% lost. With only 4ha of vines to begin, we are going to see a lot of our smaller producers struggle in the 2021 vintage- making them even more allocated than usual. 

 

 

Thatcher, Courtney, & Noah