Champagne wine industry on cloud nine, despite poor weather in the vineyards

Tuesday July 27 2021 by Vitisphere

 The next inter-branch meeting will be held on 2 September to tweak these decisions. The next inter-branch meeting will be held on 2 September to tweak these decisions. - Photo credit : Aude Lutun

Unlike last year, the atmosphere in which trade decisions for the 2021 Champagne harvest were made was visibly relaxed. The authorised usable yield will be 10,000 kg/ha, compared to 8,000 kg/ha in 2020. “We are currently experiencing the best first half of the year [for sales] that Champagne has ever known”, said Jean-Marie Barillère, chairman of the Maisons de Champagne (UMC) organisation and co-chairman of the Champagne marketing board. “Sales are 14% higher than in the first half of 2018, which was the best performing half-year to date. Export sales are very buoyant, although the French market is contracting. We were not expecting this level of sales, but we must remain cautious because the situation is still up in the air”.

Although sales are regaining momentum after a dismal 2020, the situation in the vineyards remains more challenging, with a very aggressive onset of mildew. A large chunk of the wine region will fail to reach yields of 10,000 kg/ha. “Two months before the harvest, it is too early to voice an opinion on the size of the crop”, claimed Maxime Toubard, chairman of the Champagne winegrowers’ association (SGV) and co-chairman of the marketing board. “Depending on rainfall levels, there is a strong disparity between different areas. A yield of 10,000 kg/ha is optimistic and realistic. We know that many winegrowers will use their individual reserve capacities”.

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