Vintage 2023

2023 Burgundy harvest – 15 September

By billn on September 15, 2023 #vintage 2023

We have nice warm weather again – though given the colour of the vine leaves and the carpet of horse-chestnuts on the ground the harvest retains an Autumnal feeling.

Beaujolais is not yet finished – but is close – and Chablis still has much to do.

Here in the Côte d’Or the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune are starting to fall silent – I walked around Beaune today and saw only low-lying vineyards (much in Bas de Teurons) that were still waiting to be picked – the bunches looking sub-optimal but that’s the vintage. The Côte de Nuits remains busy, as do the vineyards of the Hautes Côtes. The action in the latter starting about 3-4 days agao and also still with much to do.

I’ve yet to see any statistics from here, but already there are some for size (weight!) of the bunches in Champagne – you can expect similar for the Côte d’Or – ie BIG! And there are many bunches too – just as well given how shrivelled many look.

It will also come as no surprise that many vigneron’s syndicates have been lobbying for making hay while the sun shines ie getting augmentations for their authorised yields – I’m sure that enough wine will be made this year…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 12 September

By billn on September 12, 2023 #vintage 2023

The harvest is slowing down a lot in some areas – Côte de Beaune whites for instance – though some later pickers such as Buisson-Charles were in the vines today. Plenty of the CdB reds have also been picked but we are many days away from the end to those – much of the grapes higher up on the hillsides are still waiting for their day.

In other places, like the Côte de Nuits – and who could forget Chablis – it is gaining momentum.

Many of the Côte d’Or’s remaining reds are showing plenty of shrivelled grapes – but we can say that it’s next level in the Côte de Nuits. It’s more than anything that I’ve ever seen.

Some vineyards look very good with not too much shrivelled fruit, others look very depressing – like parts of the Clos St.Jacques. A close contact – who you may hear from in the next days – tells me there is great fruit in the Côte de Nuits, and a lot of it, but also a troubling amount that is shrivelled. For some of this fruit, the rain that is currently falling in Beaune is clearly too late, for some other vines it will undoubtedly help – though I’ve also heard of some hail today between Marsannay and Dijon, so…

Small notes from underway:

  • The Clos des Lambrays which wasn’t picked on Friday – now is.
  • The attention to detail in La Tâche is so impressive. All of La Tâche is now picked but there is so much fruit under the vines – discarded – they have clearly taken only the best to cuverie!
  • In the village of Vosne’s GCs, it’s mainly La Grand Rue that is waiting to be picked – the grapes looking way better than a lot of RSV…
  • Dark skies and thunder in Nuits around 15h30 – but with hardly a drop of rain. Until later!

More tomorrow…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 10 September

By billn on September 10, 2023 #vintage 2023

It’s hot out there!

At the home domaine we are starting as early as possible – but it’s not that early – why? Because a lot of our pickers take the train from Dijon to Beaune, and at the weekend there are no early trains – they can’t be in Beaune before 7am. So that means that the first grapes are arriving at the domaine for sorting from about 8am.

Our domaine was supposed to start harvesting on Friday but the previous week’s warm weather meant that some vines needed picking a couple of days earlier than planned – but now we’re back to normal.

Those early morning grapes are lovely and cool to the touch – as the morning moves towards lunchtime – they become far from cool to the touch! Because of this, our team of pickers have been calling a halt picking by 2:30pm – when it was, today, already 35°C in the vines – for our American cousins, that’s 95°F.

The whites look fine – there’s not a lot of sorting to do – our domaine have done Savigny 1er Hautes Jarrons, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey Blanc and Pernand 1er Cru Sous Frétille. We are certainly back to a more classic – whites ready before the reds – vintage. So far I’ve only seen the red Corton-Renardes – always ready early given it’s exposure to the sun. It’s the reds that seem more complicated. Lots of them (the grapes) are starting to shrivel – more-so in the Côte de Nuits – but not just. Yet, a lot of them are not yet quite ripe, so…(?) Actually, better said, the ripeness is variable. There is a little rot, but not much – it gives the impression that it was starting to grow until the weather became hot and dry – which, largely, stopped the spread.

An interesting side-note: We have a decent amount of pinot gris co-planted in our parcel of Corton-Charlemagne. Usually, I don’t see a lot of interest in these grapes – I see them only as ‘fillers’ – but this year the gris has a lovely perfume in the mouth. Lert’s see!

There are rains forecast from Tuesday pm – and a modest cooling of the temperature – for 2 days. Maybe that will be enough to kick any recalcitrant grape clusters into shape – those that won’t already have been harvested!

I’ve seen worse, but we are collecting quite a few ladybugs/birds over our triage table…

PS: It would be remiss of me not to tell you that the Chablisiennes are now starting to pick their grapes too!

2023 Burgundy harvest – 08 September

By billn on September 08, 2023 #vintage 2023

Just some quick observations:

  • Many more people harvesting in the Côte de Beaune versus 2 days ago – there were more teams in the reds too.
  • A bunch of people were picking in Montrachet today, including the largest owners – Laguiche (Drouhin) – the Montrachet vines of Bouchard Père and DRC had been harvested since Tuesday.
  • The reds of the Côte de Beaune look a little less shrivelled than many in the CdNuits – but still partly – and there are a few more domaines starting their campaign in the vines in the CdNuits too – though most that I speak to plan their start over the weekend or Monday
  • DRC have harvested many of their vines – Romanée-Conti was done – except for the vines following the wall that runs parallel with La Grand Rue – maybe they are leaving those grapes for the birds!

I start my triage tomorrow!

2023 Harvesting…

By billn on September 06, 2023 #vintage 2023

Well, nearly!

Some are already at it but my first harvest day will be Saturday.

I did a bit of a tour of the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits yesterday. 99% of the activity was in the Côte de Beaune, and 90% of that was whites.

The white hillsides had harvesters in just about all locations but it was just a few domaines here and there – not all domaines. There was a small amount of red harvesting to be seen – I’m assuming for the grapes of the precocious young vines. I remember in a recent hot vintage – 2020 – that Chartron in Puligny had started their harvest with their red Puligny 1er Les Caillerets – this year it’s the more classic ‘chardonnay first’ style of vintage and their red Caillerets is still waiting to be picked.

A lot of Montrachet is still waiting to be picked but much of Chevalier-Montrachet – despite being higher on the slope – has already been picked. And some of the vines – like those of Bouchard Père – are continuous but their Chevalier is picked, their Montrachet not. Likewise, the neighbouring Montrachet of DRC was also waiting to be picked. Reds are slowly coming into focus though: d’Angerville started yesterday, David Croix and Thibaud Clerget started today – Guillaume d’Angerville noting that his teams are starting early and finishing at midday due to the heat of the day – just now it’s about 33-35°C each day with not much change in this pattern of weather before Monday/Tuesday, next week. The team at Lafon are almost finished!

It’s clear that there are plenty of white grapes on the vines of the Côte d’Or – as we will see – also the reds.

Whilst the red grapes in the Côte de Beaune look pretty good – I had the impression that the grapes in the Côte de Nuits – a random sample – looked to have more challenges, ie more variable ripeness, a little rot behind some of the grapes and, seemingly, ever-more raisined berries too. Like in the Côte de Beaune, plenty of grapes though. This included the great grand crus of Richebourg and Romanéée St.Vivant. I already mentioned the generous amount of grapes – and some of the bunches are impressively large too – but in Romanée St.Vivant there was evidence of plenty of green harvesting – probably done in July. I think a necessary step for anyone looking for a decent level of ripeness. Whilst some vines remain green and vigorous, I observed a lot of very dry vines – in both Côtes – vines that already look like it’s the end of October when the grapes have long been picked – this surprises me given the relatively consistent amounts of rain this year.

Early indications are that the acidity in the grapes is low but the amount of potassium in the grapes is also low this year – ‘So what we have, we should be able to keep!

For those with an interest, the harvest is getting underway in Beaujolais and the Mâconnais but all is seemingly quiet for now in Chablis.

Burgundy 2023 harvest – ready, get set, and some have gone!

By billn on August 28, 2023 #vintage 2023

Burgundy this Monday-Tuesday, has a very different feeling to last Monday-Tuesday.

Last week, the Côtes d’Or, Chalonnaise & Mâconnais – Beaujolais too – were doing their best to enjoy temperatures of 36-38°C. Chablis was a slightly less sticky 33° – or-so. This week, they are getting-by with about 20°C after lots of rain with nights hardly in double-digit temperatures.

Last Tuesday, I discussed the harvest and matters arising with Jacques Devauges of the Clos des Lambrays. He was of the opinion that he may start his teams on the 9th September – mirroring what Antoine Gouges had ‘thought out loud’ earlier the same day. I mentioned to Jacques that although the pinot looked to be in good shape, the vines seemed to have wildly varying yields – from only 2-3 bunches per vine to more like 15! “That’s the essence of the vintage and the most important thing to avoid! You can see in the Clos that we have already thinned out the fruit – you may still see some vines with only a few bunches but you won’t find any with an excess of bunches – that excess is already lying on the ground. It’s clearly nonsense if a domaine claims an average yield of 35 hl/ha when half of their vines are producing nearly double – how will those grapes ripen?

Of course, Jacques is completely correct. And since I spoke to him, it’s even a little more complicated: Some maturities were already pushing 12° last week but with much rain in the last days – and it’s probably not stopping until Wednesday – the sugars in the grapes will have been diluted. Half a dozen domaines canvassed today still have no (exact!) idea when they will start to harvest.

As mentioned, those domaines that have avoided the worst of the hail – twice in parts of the Chalonnaise and three times in parts of Beaujolais – still have some healthy-looking grapes and time is on their side – except; the grapes in Chablis have been really suffering from rot – it had largely dried up before the rains – but now? Now it will be a concern for all the other regions too.

BUT! Of course, it’s the usual names, but at least half a dozen domaines have already started harvesting some of their whites; from Lamy to Leroy (d’Auvenay) there are already tanks of must settling, and even some latent wines are already in their barrels. It’s easy to criticise – and some always do – but these domaines have low yields and ‘different’ viticulture to the majority of their neighbours – and if their grapes say go – then go they must!

I’m expecting to start my harvest in Beaune around the 4th-5th of September, but like in many places, we are not yet certain!

Not a good day in Beaujolais…

By billn on August 14, 2023 #vintage 2023

Yesterday brought hail to Beaujolais. You can look through Jerome’s images above. This is already the third time that Beaujolais has experienced hail – (almost) always in different places…

You can also see from Jerome’s comments, that the hail followed a narrow but long corridor. As is often the case, the storms start in or around the combe of Beaujeu, this time following a line through the top of Lantigné, Emeringes, through the higher part of Regnié then onwards above Morgon through Chiroubles and the rear hills of Fleurie. Chenas was hit a little but on the lower slopes of Moulin-à-Vent, there was only rain.

I asked a few vigneron(ne)s:

Richard Rottiers (Moulin à Vent):The high parts of Beaujolais were touched but where I am in Romanèche it was only water!
Paul Henri Thillardon (Chenas): “We lost 20% of the harvest a month ago but not yesterday!”
Anne-Sophie Dubois (Fleurie): “Indeed there was a storm with hail. The impacts are not very numerous but the vine has almost finished veraison. Open berries are now susceptible to rot. The problem is here. As usual, the weather will, or will not, clean up the situation.”
Grégoire Hoppenot (Fleurie): “It seems that there is heavy damage on the ridges from Lantignié to Emeringes. In particular the high parts of Regnié, St Joseph, Chiroubles and the top of Fleurie. I don’t know the limits.”
Domaine Desvignes (Morgon): “No damage to the parcels that I looked at – so no hail for us this time.”
Laurent Martray (Côte de Brouilly): “Apparently no damage for me – I don’t know about the other areas…”

So, it seems that the Beaujolais Crus have fared well versus the hyphen-Beaujolais villages. The 10-day forecast seems mainly thunderstorm free in the Beaujolais, the same can’t be said of Chablis or the Côte d’Or, nor the Côte Chalonnaise or Mâconnais – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!

2023 vintage – late July update

By billn on July 26, 2023 #vintage 2023

Maybe some extra infos for you in this article but it seems largely culled from the Instagram accounts of the vignerons concerned.

What’s missing from this report are the areas most affected by the hail – namely the higher slopes of Bouzeron that run into the plateau of Rully – some vignerons estimating more than 50% losses – parts of Mercurey and Givry were similarly affected and Montagny a little less. For now, it’s the Côte de Chalonnaise that has seen the most significant losses.

Chablis Les Clos - 20-July-2023Fortunately, Chablis has been spared from the hail for now. The problem in Chablis is different – mildew. At this time it’s the grapes that have been affected – see image right – rather than the leaves.

The preference would always be for the grapes because you lose those grapes that have been affected – they dry out and drop off. But if the leaves are affected they will also dry and drop off and you lose the ability to have photosynthesis and, hence, can’t ripen any remaining grapes. There are obviously some yield losses in Chablis as the image I show was, a few days ago, quite consistent across the villages, 1er and grand cru vineyards that I visited…

Harvest timing remains consistent for now – the cremant grapes already in the last days of August – perhaps the odd domaine in Meursault too. Côte de Beaune producers largely looking at 05-09 September and the Côte de Nuits 09 September onwards with many still looking to start around the 12th.

Keeping fingers crossed.

Early July update – Vintage 2023… Part 2

By billn on July 12, 2023 #vintage 2023

hail - 11 july 2023I didn’t expect – or rather hope – to be making this short addendum but such is the life of farmers.

Storms were forecast – violent too – but it came to pass that there were a lot of hailstones – and images of golf-ball-sized hailstones too coming from across the Côtes d’Or and Chalonnais yesterday evening. For now, it’s dry and cloudy.

I’ve seen pictures of damaged grapes but no pictures of stripped vines – the growers that I’ve spoken to indicate patchy damage – 0-20% – perhaps and more generally 5-10% in the southern Côte de Nuits – Gevrey seems to have, largely, escaped.

As usual in such cases, I’ll wait some days for sombre reflection so that the emotions have chance to cool and become more objective. At this stage, it looks like it could have been much worse in the Côte d’Or and fortunately for Chablis, they had no hail. I’m still waiting for feedback from the south of Burgundy…

Burgundy Report

Translate »

You are using an outdated browser. Please update your browser to view this website correctly:;