The 2017 Vintage

July 1st 2017

The weather has been glorious. With the exception of the last few days of the month, which have been cool and wet, June has produced an almost interrupted sequence of long, sunny, warm, often hot days. The flowering started on the first of the month, a day earlier in the Côte de Nuits than in the Côte de Beaune, and curiously in advance of the Mâconnais, and as usual, Chablis. The flowers set into embryonic fruit very quickly, which means the bunches will all ripen at the same time, and several days in advance of the average. It has been dry, but not too parched. Every now and then this splendid weather has been relieved by the odd shower. But no storms. No hail.

Everything augers well. But 2017 is not yet guaranteed. Keep your fingers crossed!

June 1st 2017

The weather in May has been for the most part mild, less chilly at night, thus avoiding any threats of frost, but only occasionally warm, except for one glorious day – the 17th – when temperatures almost reached 30° C, and in the days that followed, for the most part. The last few days of the month were increasingly warm, indeed as hot as the 17th.. In these mixed weather conditions – no thunderstorms, no hail, sunny periods but no lack of showers – the vines have progressed evenly towards their flowering, which will take place in the first week of June, a normal date. What we need now, as much psychologically as anything else, is a further period of hot sun; as much as anything else for those with swimming pools who are looking forward to enjoying the aquatics.

First Report

May 1st 2017

The beginning of the year followed on from December 2016: cold but dry. February was warmer and wetter and March really quite sunny and dry, but cold at nights. Nevertheless by Easter the vines were two weeks ahead of schedule. There was intermittent rain in April but quite often the threat of frost. The night of the 19th saw damage in Chablis, though mainly in the lower-lying vineyards in the north of the region, as well as in Bouzeron. There was more frost damage, this time in the Côte d'Or, in the following week. The Côte de Beaune was more touched than the Côte de Nuits, particularly in Saint-Aubin. With extensive burning of hay bales, none of the damage was as bad as in the previous year, nor as bad as in Chablis, but annoying nonetheless.

In the meanwhile, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Burgundy has geared itself up to produce a more effective way of counter-acting the effects of hail damage. More or less the whole region is now equipped, it is said - it had been more intermittent hitherto - with the ability to shoot silver nitrate into potentially hail bearing clouds. With hail damage having affected Burgundy in most recent vintages (only 2015 being spared) let us hope these machines deliver the goods. On the other hand, there are two negatives. Firstly bio-dynamic vineyard producers will not be keen on silver nitrate crystals falling onto their vineyards. Secondly the hail storms come from all sorts of directions. How flexible can these guns be? There is no point in having several expensive machines facing south-east when the hail is coming from the south-west.