A late 2013 vintage put into perspective in Switzerland

Wednesday November 06 2013 by Kelsie Adams

Following a decade of harvests that seem to get earlier every year*, The Beaujoulais Wine Board rightly summarised in September that « 2013 shows a return to weather conditions seen in the 80s and 90s ». In France, just like in Switzerland, the lateness of flowering made a big impression. Changins Research Centre, faced wtih statements of an exceptionally late harvest, has focused on Swiss vineyards, and put it into perspective over the long term, with the research on the vegetative development of the chasselas grape done by the Pully Agroscope since 1925.

If we compare this years vintage to those over the past 89 years, Jean-Laurent Spring and Olivier Viret (from Changins Agroscope) conclude that this was « a relatively late flowering season, which didn’t start until 1st July, whilst the average between 1925 and 2013 started on 15th June, and on 12th June over the past 20 years ». But following cold weather in March and May, the flowering took place quite quickly (over 8 days) and the summer weather in July and August sped up maturing process, meaning that the delay dropped down to 5 days (the onset of ripening started on 18th August). The researchers concluded, after a good end to the season, that « the 15 day delay during the flowering season has practically been absorbed by the end of September ». This makes 2013 a vintage that is « not even comparable to other late harvests such as in 1935, 1963, 1972, 1977 or 1978 ».



*This is particularly evident if we look at the harvest start dates in Côtes du Rhône, Champagne or Saint-Emilion...




[Photo : Vine before flowering season, Changins Agroscope]


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