The 2017 harvest is the lowest harvest in France since 1945 and specialists are predicting historically low production levels throughout Europe due to the year’s weather events (total production down -14%).
- Italy: 40 million hl (biggest European producer),
- France: 36.9 million hl
- Spain: 36.8 million hl
These figures are not final and the actual numbers could be lower.
Now that the grape harvests are in, we can fully assess the impact of the frost and the drought on production. The hot, dry weather conditions seen at the start of the summer accelerated the ripening of the grapes on the low loaded vines. The vast majority of domaines started harvesting in August, i.e. 10-15 days earlier than usual, depending on the area.
They were able to recruit enough qualified grape pickers at the last minute thanks to social media in particular. Facebook and Le Bon Coin complemented word of mouth and the domaines managed to pull together teams of enthusiastic and motivated pickers.
The date of the end of the harvest was one of the earliest in history. The maturity of the first grapes varied greatly within the same plot but, most importantly, the grapes were very healthy and showed a promising quality potential. Although the yields are expected to be lower than usual, industry experts are telling us that the 2017 vintage will be of excellent quality.
After the harvesting, the grapes arrive in the vat-room and undergo sorting, de-stemming, crushing, maceration, settling, etc. Each winemaker uses his or her winemaking skills and experience according to the colour of the wine being produced. Now it’s time for grape juice to become wine!