The scope of the frost that hit Burgundy late April is unheard of in a very long time.
One has to call on the « old guys » to remember something similar: perhaps in 1945 ? This dramatic start was confirmed when it appeared that secondary buds would not compensate at all
... And vineyards which at first appeared unscathed showed smaller and fewer berries than normal. During a particularly humid month of May, a dawny mildew epidemic wreaked havoc.
Certain vineyards seemed to literally "catch fire", with symptoms appearing in just 48 hours and reaching the grapes themselves. Usually, it is the leaves that take the hit. The vintner was under maximum pressure, and wondered even in June if he would be able to keep the diseases in check: powdery mildew also was beginning to pick up, who knew where it would end ?Then, a miracle: rain stopped almost completely
, and July was fair, August warm and sunny ...At the beginning, it was taken as a respite, a pause in that crazy run to disaster, enabling people and equipment to rest. But as a warm and dry summer went on, questions shifted nature: how should we protect the berries from sun burns, are the vines evolving slowly because of the lack of water, should we harvest sooner than we thought ? Slowly, another type of vintage, definitely warmer, was taking shape, and with it, our mood shifted.
The drought did not stop until late August. Even after that date, weather did not change much:
it remained calm, temperatures were warm, and precipitations isolated, although sometimes abundant. Rain had been desired and indeed, it allowed the vineyards to restart the ripening process. But berries also increased in size (30 mm of rain in a few days just do not fall unnoticed), and it could have proved dangerous in the end if that messy weather had carried on. Fortunately, it was not the case, and with good weather back, concentration and ripening could resume.In the end, harvest started on September 26th, in ideal conditions.
Harvesters picked very healthy grapes for the most part. There were one or two threatening episodes but in the end, no significant precipitations. It was a serene process, as much as this term can be used for a harvest ... But still, what a contrast compared to the agony we went through at the beginning of the year ! As if nature wanted to right itself ... Harvesting vineyards stricken by frost was indeed difficult: however few grapes there remained, they were difficult to find in vines which had regrown as bushes. A lot to do for a meagre result.