The champenois will be abandoning their buckets and spades in favour of secateurs as the harvest in Champagne will start tomorrow (August 21).
It’s news that will surprise absolutely no one after this year’s boiling summer – in fact, having their summer breaks interrupted is becoming an increasingly common occurrence for the beleaguered viticulteurs of the Côte des Blanc.
This makes 2018 the fifth harvest to take place in August in the last 15 years, following 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2017. This year’s harvest will start five days before 2017.
The Comité Champagne has set yields at 10,800kg/ha – the same as the previous two years.
‘[This year] will be remembered as an exceptional year – exceptional because of its early harvest date and exceptional grape quality,’ said Françoise Peretti, director of the UK Champagne Bureau. ‘Though it is too early to tell, producers are hopeful this year’s harvest will produce an outstanding vintage.’
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de cave at Champagne Louis Roederer, told Imbibe last month that 2018 could be an iconic vintage thanks to the wet winter ensuring water reserves were good, while Moët Hennessy was looking a little more nervy.