The ‘almost the end of May’ 2024 vintage update

Update 30.5.2024(29.5.2024)billn

The weather, the weather – there’s not much else to talk about in 2024.

The year began mild, became cool and remains tempestuous. At best, the lower-lying vineyards are soggy but many, even at the end of May, are water-logged. The concern is growing about mildew…

The frost is, now, all but a fleeting memory; hardest hit was the Chatillonnais – but nobody mentions it as the region is known (almost) only as a source of grapes for crémant – here, the temperatures dropped to -5°C. Of course, if there is frost, Chablis always seems to be affected. In the Côte de Beaune, Maranges and some of Monthelie and the Hautes Côtes de Beaune suffered. Elsewhere, from the Mâconnais to Dijon, any damage was limited – it certainly couldn’t be described as a yield-limiting factor.

The rain continues to bear down on all the vineyards – making treatments to combat mildew barely possible. Some domaines are reporting – already before flowering – that they may lose a majority of their Bourgognes. Since 2007, the potential for mildew is currently similar to 2016 – which was saved by a great second half of the summer – and just a little behind the mildew levels reported in the 2012 and 2013 vintages.

And what of flowering? There are one or two outliners that I’ve seen images of, but it seems like next week (so just into June) will see the onset. This currently puts the potential harvest timing about average since 2007 – ie about 22-23 days earlier than the latest and, equally, later than the earliest.

Of course, this phase of tempestuous, turbulent, weather still brings a heightened risk of hail. Chablis, in addition to its frost damage, already lost significant yield in 1,000 hectares of vines to the 1st May hail – from a total of 6,000 hectares. Luckily (so far !!) both St.Bris and Irancy have avoided both frost and hail – my fingers remain crossed…

Two or three times a week the meteoexpress weather channel in the linked Instagram post, above, shows parts of France with heavy hail, an additional reminder – if any were needed – was the thunder and lightning in Chablis on Monday the 20th May afternoon – weather that seemed to follow me all the way back to Beaune via Dijon. At 8pm in Dijon, there were many leaves on the ground – or pieces of leaves! It was only when I consulted the meteoexpress feed in Instagram that I saw what happened in Dijon a couple of hours before I arrived – see the Instagram above. I understand that only the most extreme north of the Côte de Nuits vines were touched – not too viciously but it’s still too early to quantify the effect – in the sector of Marsanay’s Grasses Têtes.

Rainfall – so far the average this year is 380mm, which is around one-third more than the average of the 5 previous years.

A selection of May 2024 photos…

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “The ‘almost the end of May’ 2024 vintage update”

  1. DLP4th June 2024 at 9:21 amPermalinkReply

    Is the weather breaking as of June 3rd? Last week everything still seemed dark, gloomy, & wet.

    • billn4th June 2024 at 3:48 pmPermalinkReply

      This week the weather is warmer but I still don’t see much in the way of stability yet. I remember it was mid-July when the weather turned to summer in 2016 – to save the vintage. It’s currently less ‘dramatic’ than that, but still problematic to treat the vines…

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