week 26 2022 – the vintage so far (after the deluge…)


Clos Saint Jacques - after heavy rain
Gevrey’s Clos St.Jacques after the heavy rains – somebody’s going to have to take that earth back up the hill…

Well, there has been a lot of rain in the last few days – nearly 160mm recorded in Gevery-Chambertin, 21-27 June – a volume of water that brought soil to the bottom of the hills and ripped new channels through the vineyard roads and paths.

As you move south, the volume of rain slowly receded to between 50-80mm in the southern half of the Côte d’Or. The rain of 21-June focused on the north Côte de Nuits (Brochon, Fixin, Couchey). That of 22-June was more in the northern Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits and the Hautes-Côtes with much variabilty in the Hautes Côtes depending on the particular valley. These first two stormy episodes were accompanied by hail in the north Côte de Beaune, including Chorey-les-Beaune and some of Ladoix plus in Côte de Nuits. Thursday 23-June, fortunately, brought only water and the same for the evening of Saturday 25-June.

In the Mâconnais, Fuissé, in one day, saw 50mm of rain – but in only 45 minutes! They had no hail, though other places, such as Vergisson, fared less well as there was hail mixed with the rain – losses are currently estimated at 30% – so much less than the hail of 2021 and, again, with the caveat that there was already a lot of grapes on the vines.

Mazis-Chambertin 24-June-2022Hail always generates strong emotions, it’s for that reason that I like to wait a few days before reporting on the potential consequences. The syndicate of Gevery-Chambertin (image: Mazis-Chambertin, right) were quickly discussing potential (average!) losses of around 15% but there are a lot of grapes on the vines this year – despite the April frost – so, at this stage, it’s not necessarily going to be a lower volume vintage. As one well-known producer told me today “Several impacts of hail and a lot of earth down the slope…. but no significant reason to cry!

Some of the grape clusters were not looking good – as is always the case with hail – but we have a forecast with 7-10 days of reasonably stable weather and warm temperatures that will likely dry these damaged grapes and give them the chance of dropping to the floor. Biodynamic domaines in Gevrey were already spraying their teas of tisane on Friday afternoon. From Beaune south, there are hardly any hail impacts as of today.

It’s patchy in Beaujolais too; poor Fleurie has some damage – it seems that if there’s hail, they always get it – but in Brouilly there was none and so forth. All told, nearly 500 hectares of Beaujolais has some hail damage – it sounds a lot (it is!) but it’s still only 3.5% of the 14,500 hectares that they have planted. It’s the sectors of Blacé, Saint Julien and the slopes of Arnas that have been most touched.

As noted, the forecast is largely good with temperatures approaching 30°C in the next 10 days – rot remains under control, for now, so steady as she goes…

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