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“The good wind of the harvest”

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Oyez! Hear! You are invited to come and harvest! From the Butte Montmartre, a Mecca for Parisian tourism, the call is launched. Saturday, October 8, the harvest festival will be in full swing in the capital. Not sure, however, that the grapes picked from the thousand vines planted in Clos-Montmartre weigh heavily in the national wine balance. The Ministry of Agriculture did not wait for the Paris verdict to deliver its new estimate for the 2022 harvest on Friday, October 7. It should reach 44.6 million hectoliters.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers 2021, a trying year for French viticulture

For the wine sector, this result is a relief. First, because the level of the tanks, in 2021, had not lived up to expectations. Far from it. The spring frost followed by episodes of hail had pulverized part of the fruit. Result, the winegrowers had hardly grain to put under the teeth of the press and French production sank to 37.8 million hectoliters. Bad pickaxe for farmers. Especially since a year earlier, in the midst of the Covid crisis, with the closure of bars and restaurants, professionals had asked for help to distil the wine stored in the cellars, for fear of overflow.

The pressure was therefore strong this year on the presses. Initially, the weather report seemed very favorable despite a few episodes of cold and hail. But, with the summer, the thermometer panicked, and the rain was desired. Concern began to mount in the vineyards when the grapes were slow to take on plumpness. Fortunately, many vineyards received life-saving water before the first blows of the pruning shears. The good wind of the harvest…

pink landscape

The winegrowers therefore found their smiles again to start the harvest, once again marked by its precocity. With a double reason for satisfaction: beyond the quantity, the quality was there. With the drought, the vines were not attacked by mildew or powdery mildew, and the bunches were healthy. The 2022 vintage thus marks a rebound of nearly 18% in national wine production and holds great hope for beautiful bottles.

However, this rosé wine-growing landscape deserves to be nuanced. As always, Mother Nature, capricious, does not gratify everyone in the same way. The people of Champagne are celebrating. They decided to blow up the yield ceilings set by the appellation. They have increased this year from 15,000 to 16,500 kilos per hectare. Enough to replenish the personal reserves of the winegrowers, established to cushion the shocks. And satisfy the thirst for the famous sparkling wine, which is increasingly popular internationally. “Over twelve rolling months, from August 2021 to August 2022, shipments increased by 14.7% to 335 million bottles”says Maxime Toubart, president of the General Union of Champagne Winegrowers.

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