The 2018 harvest in the Loire regions of Anjou, Saumur and Touraine has begun for those varieties used in sparkling production with the main harvest scheduled for next week.
Harvesting of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to be used in sparkling production began on 27 August and picking of other varieties for still wine is slated to start from 3-9 September across the region, starting with Muscadet and then gradually moving steadily eastwards said InterLoire and the BIVC.
Overall volumes for the three regions are being put at 2.5 million to 2.6 million hectolitres, up from 2.1m hl in 2017, which is a blessing after two small, hail and frost-struck seasons, while the quality is also being touted as “excellent”.
The growing season in the Loire saw an early spring and an early flowering as a result – mercifully free of hail or frost.
June was relatively rainy leading to some outbreaks of mildew but the summer was warm and dry with July temperatures in Touraine 3.5° centigrade above the 30 year average.
A total of 600-625 hours of sunshine were recorded from the end of June to mid-August, 20-30% more than normal.
Harvests are beginning across the northern hemisphere. In the US, grapes destined for sparking wines are likewise being picked.
Champagne and Alsace have begun more general harvests, Germany is starting to pick and the picking of white grapes has been reported in the Rhône, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
In general, early reports indicate that France’s 2018 harvest is going to make good on the painful losses many regions experienced in 2016 and 2017 while initial noises with regards the health of the crop is also positive.