2024 – the short (growth) pause…


Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Corbeaux - 25 April 2024
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Corbeaux – 25 April 2024

The worry of frost is currently over across the whole of greater Burgundy, so what’s the status?

Frost in the Côte d’Or – update:
From the weather stations that are dotted around the Côtes, the minimum observed temperatures were –5°C in the Châtillonnais sector and almost -2°C in the lower part of Nuits St.Georges (the ‘station’ of Les Bouffales) and these were over the night of April 18 to 19.

During the last week, the average daily temperatures did not exceed 10°C – this week it is warmer. This cool spell combined with the cold nights has considerably slowed the growth of the vines.

So, no surprise, it is the Châtillonnais that has been most affected together with some southern sectors – like the chardonnay (mainly) in Maranges. I heard of some very affected areas in the valley that runs up from Monthelie to Nolay – optically high losses here and one vigneron bemoaning that his organic vines with ground cover look to have taken a hit of approaching 80%, whereas the herbicide-treated vines of a neighbour look 100% okay !!

There is talk of much damage in some parts of the Hautes-Côtes – but not others – I await a little more transparency here.

The rest of the Côtes, has some localised damage but it seems nothing that will have an obvious impact on the yields – but it remains possible that fewer flowers will be produced – so we will have to watch and wait for that.

Frost in Chablis:
Obviously, there will have been some yield-reducing challenges from the frost. I’m there on Monday, so will have some first-hand observations for you next week.

Frost in Beaujolais:
What frost? I was there last week (on Wednesday) and growers reported no frost at that stage – but Wednesday-Friday were forecast to dip down to 0°C in the nights – I have neither heard nor seen anything since, so assume, for now, no damage.

Rain !
It hardly stops !!

In April we had a proper month of April showers – indeed, more than showers! Lyon, last weekend, had almost 100mm of rain in one day – so much of (nearby) Beaujolais was, again, very well watered.

In the Côte d’Or, the weather station of Gevrey-Chambertin had already 99mm of rain collected by the 28 April. Volnay, by comparison, 50mm.

At the moment, it doesn’t look like, this summer, the Beaunois will be stopped from washing their cars to save water !!

So what of the vines?
After the hot – nearly 30°C weekend that followed Easter (13-14 April) the vine growth was well ahead of the norms and certainly matched the precocity of the 2020 vintage. The frost and the cool couple of weeks that followed have retarded the vigour of the vines and their stage of growth is currently classed as ‘average’ with a projected harvest just a couple of days ahead of last year’s 2023 campaign – but it remains very early days in terms of forecasting…

The main issue with the level of rain is that growers who have prepared areas for replanting, haven’t actually been able to get into the vineyards to plant! Many remain in consultation with their plant providers – the nurseries – as to whether they may end up being too late to plant…

I’m back to Beaune tomorrow. For now, a few photos from last week:

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