Burgundy Prepares For Smaller 2016 Harvest

New reports confirm that wine-makers in Burgundy are currently bracing themselves for a smaller grape harvest this year, following adverse weather conditions. Ideal Wine Company investigates what may become short in supply.

Legendary wine

Burgundy, based in Eastern France, is one of the world’s most celebrated wine-making regions. Evidence suggests that people have been producing wine there since Roman times. Burgundy’s wine-making tradition was famously shaped by Roman Catholic monasteries, who made it for religious reasons in the medieval period and over time, the region’s products became popular across the world.

Wineries in Burgundy are especially known for making dry red wines from Pinot Noir grapes. Some of the top producers of dry red wine in this region, such as Clos Saint Denis, Chambertin and Echezeaux, make bottles which you can find on Ideal Wine Company’s Burgundy wine list. But if recent reports are to be believed, it may be hard to find 2016 Burgundy vintages anywhere, due to limited supply.

Adverse weather conditions

Many French wine-making regions, including Burgundy, experienced severe spring frosts this year. Evidence shows that frost can damage wine grapes, as during growing periods, vines are sensitive to temperatures under 0°C. Wine-makers routinely deploy a range of measures to protect their vines from this problem, but if a particularly strong frost hits their vineyards, it can prove catastrophic.

According to The Drinks Business, an industry portal, the frosts that hit Burgundy this year were the worst recorded since the 1980s.  A recent survey of wine-growers conducted by The Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB), a regional industry body, suggests that 2016 grapes yields will sit 27% below average. This means that this year, Burgundy is expected to produce between 1.1mHL and 1.2mHL of wine.

Assessing the situation

Explaining further, BIVB noted that the hardest-hit Burgundy regions may yield “few or even no grapes at all,” while others could experience more “generous” harvests. The body added that even though Burgundy wine-makers made up for lost time in August and September, due to good weather, complications fostered by spring conditions are “making things tricky for producers.”

However, BIVB rushed to assure wine enthusiasts that it isn’t “all doom and gloom” as far as Burgundy’s 2016 wine grape harvest is concerned. Explaining further, the organisation commented that “nothing is set in stone, given how experiences have differed from one estate to the next… The grapes are maturing at a good rhythm and some have made up for the time lost in the spring.”

Exclusive vintage

It’s still early days, but it appears that due to heavy spring frosts, Burgundy wine output may be lowered significantly, following this year’s harvest. With limited quantities, Burgundy 2016 wine may become something of an exclusive vintage. If you’re looking to start a wine collection, you may want to follow Burgundy 2016 wines as they’re released, to determine whether they’re worth collecting.