Disaster for the Côte des Bar

5th August 2016

Disaster for the Côte des Bar

This year is the worst for mildew since 1958 and the vineyards of the Côte des Bar in the Aube have been the worst affected. Vines have either no grapes or grape skeletons.

The Aube has 8,000 ha of vineyards , roughly a quarter of the whole Champagne appellation. Heavy frosts and two or three times the average monthly rainfall have caused serious damage. Mildew can only be efficiently treated in dry weather.

The yield for this September’s harvest has been set at 10,800 k per ha. In the Aube they’re looking at 3,000 k . In the worst affected areas this could be halved or more.

The solution will be to back this up with the reserves, but in some cases this won’t be enough. Some Champagne makers will have to depend on sympathetic bankers to tide them over. The big houses in the Marne who rely on the Aube’s Pinot Noir grapes will also have supply problems.

A smaller harvest doesn’t mean a bad harvest but the price per bottle will of course rise.

Jon Catt

Tour guide for the Champagne region who lives in Troyes. Specialising in family run Champagne house visits in the Aube and the Marne plus wine tours in the Yonne and Côte d'Or.