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Volumes down 50% in Chablis

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Volumes down 50% in Chablis

Source: the drinks business
by Rupert Millar
7th October, 2016

The 2016 harvest in Chablis has been reduced by 50% but what wine will be made is "likely to be very good" the interprofession has said.

This spring saw the northern Burgundian region struck by a succession of calamities starting with a severe frost in April and then two hail storms in May.

A damp period allowed mildew and other diseases to form but much better weather from August through to the end of the harvest has producers confident they can salvage some good wines from the crop.

Many areas of France, especially the north, have been hit hard by appalling weather this year but adversity appears to have helped producers work together.

It has been reported that further south in the Côte d'Or the likes of Comtes Lafon and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are looking to pool their meager crops of Montrachet together to ensure at least some wine is made from the hail-ravaged vineyard.

It has been the case in Chablis too as Louis Moreau, vice-president of BIVB Chablis, has noted. He said: "This year has been a trying time for the producers and vignerons in Chablis. But we will not let this bring us down. It's not the first time this has happened in the region, and we are a hardy and positive thinking group of people.

"If anything the appalling weather conditions have brought our community together even more. Neighbours have been working side by side helping each other during the harvest; and we have even been sharing our picking teams, as many of the vines have required hand picking in several passes to ensure that we harvest the grapes at optimum ripeness."

The final figures from the harvest are yet to come in and while they will make for poor reading as Moreau alluded to they will hopefully not be as bad as some other notably frost-bitten vintages.

On 1 May 1945 a severe frost hit damaged every vineyard in the region. In 1951 just 32 hectolitres of Chablis grand cru were produced after a terrible year and just one hectolitre of grand cru was declared in 1957.