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Champagne producers hope to double their harvest in 2013

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The climate conditions that have hit Burgundy and Bordeaux this summer have so far spared Champagne. If the increase in production is confirmed, the price however, will remain unchanged.

Will there be twice as Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Roederer and Bollinger this year?

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Producers suggest that in the vessels there will be but not in the wine shops and supermarkets.

French champagne production is forecast to increase by 56% compared to 2012 if the weather over the next two months remains favourable but this will not lead to higher volumes bottled in 2013, or a decline in prices for lovers of bubbles. Yields were particularly low in 2012, but the harvest this year is 16% higher than the average of the past five years, according to figures released in August by the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, Thibaut Le Mailloux, spokesperson for Interprofessional Committee of Champagne (CIVC) highlights the caution that producers must take until the end of the harvest. Unexpected weather events can still occur by the end of September, he said, referring to the hail that has plagued Burgundy since mid-July , but that has so far spared Champagne. « We have a potential for a great harvest, both qualitatively and quantitatively, but, as the winemakers say, as the grape is not on the press we cannot guarantee anything, » said the spokesman. After a winter and a rather cold and very wet spring this year, the Champagne vineyard began its development a couple of days late but the very favourable weather that followed has left hope for a potentially good harvest.

To date, the beginning of the harvest is expected in late September which marks the traditional harvest dates, not seen in the last few years.

If the increase in production is confirmed, however, consumers will not find more bottles in stores and will not pay less for sparkling bubbles. Champagne gross-which represents the bulk of the production of Champagne houses, is produced from the mixture of grape harvests of several years. This is so that each company can reproduce its typical taste every year and ensure consistency in production. Producers have already agreed that a possible surplus of production in 2013 will not be bottled, but used to supplement the old reserve vintages. « The reserve can both enrich the aroma of wine and in this uneven climate constitute a kind of insurance, » says Thomas Mailloux, noting that last year the reserves had been widely exploited.

The sparkling wines of Champagne are wholly produced, harvested and processed in the defined « Champagne » area in France, known as « AOC » (AOC) since 1927. In 2012, 349 houses have produced the equivalent of nearly 270 million bottles, according to figures from the interprofessional committee of champagne.

Source: Helene Dupuy
13th August 2013

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