As the 2022 grape harvest gets into full swing, producers have signalled earlier picking, following the summer heatwave. Here, Drinks Retailing rounds up the latest harvest news: 

  • Harvests in the Provence wine region (AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence) began 10 to 15 days earlier than the 2021 harvests. Despite the heatwave, which brought about water stress, the fruit is said to be “extremely healthy” with “good volumes” expected.

  • The Comité Champagne has announced that the region’s harvest began on August 20. Champagne growers and houses set the 2022 available yield as 12,000 kilos per hectare, which is the “highest level in 15 years”. Comité Champagne attributed the high yields to “minimal losses from spring frosts and hailstorms”. 

  • The crémant and dry white harvest in Bordeaux began on August 16 (15 to 20 days ahead of normal harvesting time) with the Merlot harvest commencing at the beginning of September. The hot weather is said to have favoured the production of “attractive but small berries” with a “good balance between acidity and freshness”.

  • In Austria, harvests are expected to see a “slightly lower volume” following challenges in terms of “both climate and cost”, including droughts in July and August. However, president of the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association, Johannes Schmuckenschlage, said the harvest is still “promising”, adding: “In the best-case scenario, we can expect wine volumes to match the average of previous years at around 2.4 million hectolitres”.
  • In the UK, Ridgeview sparkling wine producers are expecting a large harvest, noting that Chardonnay is likely to do well this year. Due to the hot and dry weather, the Chardonnay grapes will be picked first. The producer has found berries to be “smaller than usual with concentrated flavours”, due in part to the lack of rainfall. At Chapel Down, across its 750 acres already under vine, the company has delivered “a record tonnage” of its key sparkling wine grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as part of a total harvest of over 2,000 tonnes. This compares “favourably with last year’s, weather affected, harvest of ~1,400 tonnes”. This year’s harvest is expected to enable the production of approximately 2 million bottles of sparkling and still wines. Sandridge Barton, which is home to Sharpham Wine, has reported a “bumper harvest”, with around 80 tonnes of grapes harvested over a four-week period beginning September 24. Duncan Schwab, CEO and head winemaker at Sandridge Barton, described 2022 as “one of the best vintages to date”, adding: “The grapes have a great fruit intensity, high sugars and balanced acidity.”
  • The 2022 D.O. Cava harvest marks the first harvest in which grapes from plots dedicated exclusively to Cavas de Guarda Superior were separated on arrival and during vinification in the winery via a digital platform that communicates data in real time. Due to “above-average high temperatures”, the harvest was brought forward to the beginning of August. The rise in temperatures and lack of rainfall resulted in a “significant reduction in quantity.”
  • Wineries across California have reported a “high-quality vintage” for 2022 according to the California Vintners Harvest Report. Due in part to a heatwave in August, some appellations, including Napa Valley, began harvesting around month earlier than normal, while other areas, such as Paso Robles, experienced an extended harvest.