Champagne has experienced the effects of global warming, with an increase in average temperature of 1.1oC across the past 30 years. This has so far proved an advantage for our wines, and the winegrowing year 2019 is no exception. Periods of frost in spring did destroy a proportion of buds, but the main factor was heatwave, especially in June and July, which caused scalding that burned up more than 10% of the potential harvest. This was a year when Champagne experienced its highest temperatures on record, with 42.9°C recorded on 25 July.
With hot and sunny conditions in August and September, combined with cool nights on the run-up to the harvest, the vine displayed an exceptional ripening dynamic, producing musts with a good balance of acidity and sugar plus an aromatic concentration that promises well for the future cuvees.
The network that monitors maturation helped winegrowers to time their picking so they only harvested grapes at peak ripeness.
The picking started in the very first days of September and is now close to completion. Despite considerable variations from sector to sector, volumes should exceed 10,000 kg/ha on average, which is close to the economic yield required to satisfy market demand.
The exceptional harvest of 2018 had in any case replenished the “Champagne reserve” (which serves as insurance if climate conditions produce an eventual harvest shortfall). So winegrowers and houses were relaxed about the outcome of this harvest.
Since the 2000s, Champagne has pursued a policy of sustainable development, and has widely reduced its environmental impact in that time. Two major objectives are now established: zero herbicides by 2025 and all areas of production environmentally certified by 2030. Winegrowers and houses are meanwhile preparing for the future with a “tool box” that helps them adapt winegrowing to global warming*.
Epernay, 25th September, 2019.
* See press release “Adapting to climate change in Champagne”. https://www.champagne.fr/assets/files/dossier_presse/dossier-climat-change-adaptation-june-2019.pdf
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