Loire Valley 2018 Update

This week our product manager, Paul, visited some of the estates we work with in The Loire Valley, to check on progress over the summer and this crucial stage of the growing process.

As is the case with many vineyards in France, The Loire Valley has a problem with mildew. Given the warm summer and high humidity this year, it is as much a risk now as ever.   The most common treatment to tackle this mildew, is by spraying Copper Sulphate, commonly known as “Bouillie Bordelaise” on the vines, which growers are regularly applying in order to prevent disaster. However, growers in the Loire noted that there was an excellent quantity of grapes this year, so the danger of losing yields to mildew was not so threatening.



While in the region, Paul spoke with Pierre Gauthier of Domaine du Bel Air based in Bourgueil. Pierre expressed that he was not too worried about the mildew, given that they could take all the necessary preventative measures.  However it was the risk of hail in these last crucial weeks that was truly frightening. The problem with hail is that there is very little you can do to prevent it, so if it comes, the producers will simply have to suffer the consequences.  So far this summer, the weather across France has been very good, despite a couple of less serious hail storms here and there, we will all be hoping for this to continue so that we might have a strong 2018 vintage!



When discussing with Pierre the wellbeing of the grapes, he told Paul that in his opinion, if all goes well for the next few weeks, we should be looking at an early harvest for the Loire, probably in mid September.  This might seem standard for Burgundy lovers, but in fact The Loire usually experiences a later harvest at the end of September.
The harvest team at Domaine du Bel Air
– Lucy Kelly

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