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06.2012

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

CHAMPAGNE DREAMS GO POP

 France’s sparkling wine industry may be in for some tough times in the coming years as up to a third of some Champagne vineyards were hurt by heavy frosts in April. Temperatures dropped to -3°C (26.6°F) in the Côte des Blancs with villages like Avize, Cramant and Chouilly the worst hit, while there was more widespread damage in the Côte des Bar as temperatures there fell to -5°C (25°F). Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs and the Grande Vallée de la Marne was the most vulnerable: it was more advanced with two or three leaves already growing in some well-exposed vineyards. There was widespread damage in the vineyards around Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Avenay. Moët & Chandon had between 7% and 8% of this year’s crop potentially lost, with the worst damage in the grands crus of Avize and Aÿ, where up to 18% was affected. Côte des Bar to the south-east of Troyes, where Pinot Noir is planted, were hardest struck: Moët lost nearly 2O% of its crop there. Olivier Bonville of Franck Bonville, a grower based in Avize said, “Frost affected about 3O% of our vineyard. After the warm temperatures in March the vines were already showing two leaves and we were also hit by frost in the previous week on the night of 12 and 13 April when temperatures fell to -3°C.” For Arnaud Margaine, a grower with vineyards in Villers-Marmery, the frosts of April 13 caused less than 5% damage but the night of April 16 and 17 was colder. “We saw 15-2O% of the vines damaged. But it is still too early to see the impact on the next harvest as some new buds may grow.” Hopefully this is not a harbinger of things to come but the reality is, climate change is increasingly going to be an issue in the wine industry.

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