Grape Harvest 2016

23rd September 2016


The results of the damage caused to the Champagne vineyards by extreme weather earlier this year are having their affect on this year’s harvest.

Chardonnay grapes are usually the first to ripen. This year it’s Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Wine growers are saying they’ve never seen this and the cause is unknown. It will mean longer harvests in the wait for the Chardonnay grapes to be ready to pick.

In the Aube which is mainly Pinot Noir it’s a race against the clock. Rain fell at the end of last week and caused a risk of rot so the harvest will have to be quick.

Piecework has gradually taken over from an hourly rate for grape pickers. In the Aube where there are less grapes to pick and a shorter harvest some wine growers have had to return to an hourly rate.

Less pickers in the vines and pressing centres closed because of smaller quantities of grapes has also had an affect on local communities. Shops and caterers are missing much needed income.

Whilst there’s talk of the harvest still being good many wine growers are looking forward with hope to a better harvest in 2017.

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.