Burgundy Harvest 2017: To Pick or Not to Pick?

After predictions of a weekend of torrential rain divided winemakers on picking times (the rain in question incidentally never arrived), we take a look at the repercussions of holding out or harvesting early.

Domaine Cathiard

Domaine Cathiard started harvesting on Wednesday 13th September first with Romanee Saint Vivant and Malconsort and then moving onto Les Clos de L’Orme in the afternoon. Given the risk of rain last week, Sebastien took the gamble with his decision to wait, but luckily it paid off and only 3mm of water fell. Thanks to his steely nerve and patience, his grapes developed to the right level of ripeness.

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Cathiard Clos de L’Orme

Regis Forey:

Regis Forey began his harvest on 9th September. This was slightly later than the rest of the village, but he held out for extra ripeness. as he was waiting for ripeness. He started with the Vosne Romanee villages before moving on to the Echezeaux, Gaudichots and Petits Monts on the 10th. On Monday they continued with Clos Vougeot, Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru and Morey St Denis 1er Cru. They finished on Thursday, 14th September, with the rest of the villages.

Both Regis and his son Quentin were delighted with the quantity picked and the great quality of the grapes. For the moment, they retain the harvest in cold fermentation for 5/6 days in order to keep the colour, with some pumping over. They will gradually warm the VATs up over the coming days to progressively start fermentation.

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Harvesting at Domaine Regis Forey

Gros Frere et Soeur:

Vincent Gros, of Gros Frere and Soeur, started harvesting on Tuesday 12th September. They began with the Grand and Premier Cru, and his harvest is expected to last 2 weeks. Quality and quantity so far are both outstanding and Vincent is very pleased (as you can see from the photo).

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Vincent Gros

Anne Gros:

Anne Gros started harvesting on Friday 8th September with all Grand Crus (Richebourg, Clos Vougeot, Echezeaux) and chose not to harvest on the 9th due to the forecasted rain (which as we know, ended up not being anything as heavy as predicted). She resumed with Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanee and Bourgogne.

At first she was quite pleased by the quantity of the harvest, however gradually she became unhappy by the lack of juice in her Villages (Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee in particular.) Fortunately this was not the case for the Grand Crus. She will harvest the Haute Cote de Nuits early this week.

Despite the minor issues with the Villages, Anne is overall happy about her 2017 vintage.

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Anne Gros

Francois Bertheau:

Francois started harvesting on Tuesday 12th September with Les Amoureuses and Bonnes Mares. Francois tends to begin harvesting quite late as he particularly looks for ripeness in his grapes. On 13th, he moved onto Chambolle-Musigny 1er Crus and by Thursday 14th was harvesting Les Charmes. He finished over the weekend and was overall happy with the quality and quantity he picked, plus he has achieved the ripeness and great level of acidity which he aims for every year.

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Francois Bertheau harvesting his Les Charmes

Thibault Liger-Belair:

On Friday, 15th September Thibault Liger was harvesting his Richebourg in the morning, and then moving onto his Clos Vougeot in the afternoon. Thibault decided to start picking on 12th September for two reasons. Firstly, he had to begin by harvesting his estate of Moulin à Vent in Beaujolais, but also because he was looking for a better level of ripeness in his Burgundy wine. He was happy with his Moulin à Vent harvest, despite the issues with hail in Beaujolais in the Spring, he had a decent harvest, doubling the quantity he expected (10 hectolitres instead of the anticipated 5).

In Burgundy he first started with his Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges, followed by his Nuits Saint Georges La Charmotte. On 14th September he completed all the Hautes Cotes de Nuits. The following day was for Richebourg, Petits Monts and Clos Vougeot.

Thibault was delighted with the quality of the grapes and happy that he held out a bit longer. For the Richebourg and Clos Vougeot he asks that his team destem manually. As you can see in this photo, they remove the main part of the stem on each grape, which makes for a very long process. For 2017 he put 30% whole cluster into his wine.

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 Manual De-Stemming of Richebourg, Thibault Liger-Belair

– Lucy Kelly

Stay tuned as we catch up with the producers still harvesting!

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