Champagne Deutz – News of Flowering
The leading Champagne house of Deutz have just sent us their assessment of the 2019 season vine flowering. This is what they report.
“Should we now consider hard winters to be a thing of the past? That is the question we can legitimately be asking ourselves this year. We certainly didn’t have any really cold weather in winter 2018-2019. There were only a few morning frosts and a little bit of snow, forcing us to temporarily stop work in the vineyards, reminding us that we were in winter. We also didn’t have much rain so, by the time spring came, there was a deficit in groundwater replenishment.
In the second 10 days of February, spring seemed to have already set in with record high temperatures (+2.6°C average temperature over the month!). The champagne region was potentially looking at another early bud burst. This anachronistic hot weather at least had the benefit of allowing the Champagne Deutz vineyard team to finish the work grinding up the vine branches and preparing the soil for mechanical weeding. Finally, at the end of February, the day-time temperatures turned colder again and March brought with it plenty of sleet and rain.
Statistics tell us that it is the temperatures in March that determine the date of the bud burst. The warm weather in February was soon forgotten and the weather in April was more normal. In the end, the average bud burst dates were officially recorded as 8, 13 and 14 April for the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier respectively; dates that are close to the 10-year average.
A paradox of global warming is that spring frosts are becoming more frequent, so we kept a close eye on the weather and particularly on the thermometer once bud burst had taken place. At the start of April, a north wind from Scandinavia blew over the Champagne region, cleared the sky and lowered the temperatures. The frost hit us for the first time on the night of 4 to 5 April and then several times between 11 to 15 April. The first assault was the most destructive due to the high air humidity at the time. Fortunately, most of the damage was confined to the lower slopes. The worst was avoided … but only just!
Vine at flowering
May and June brought some stormy weather and thermometer was yoyoing up and down. Flowering started fairly early in the earlier plots but a cooling of the temperatures in the second week of June upset the early stages of anthesis. Flowering was very slow in these plots and struggled to get started in the others. It was only from 15 June, with the return of normal seasonal temperatures, that the cycle accelerated in a few days. Flowering then completed quickly in warm weather.
We have officially recorded an average flowering date of 20 June in our vineyards. From this date, Patrick Boivin, our vineyard director, and his right-hand man, Cédric Georget, are able to forecast that we will be harvesting in the second 10 days of September. This comes after two years of early harvests that started in August.
At the time of writing, the situation in the vineyard is healthy, the flowering took place in good conditions and there was just a little coulure (fruit set failure) in those plots where the flowering was slightly behind. This year’s harvest is currently looking good but, as our Chairman Fabrice Rosset likes to remind us, “let’s not make optimistic forecasts, the road to the harvest is still long and the potential hazards are many.”
Champagne Deutz – July 2019″
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