Frost and hail force Champagne producers to tap into reserves for 2017

Spring frosts and summer hail will leave Champagne growers and houses drawing on reserve stocks from previous vintages to supplement 2017 production, the Champagne Bureau in the UK has said.

Like may French regions, Champagne was hit by severe frosts in the spring, clearing around 23% of buds across the region.

Many sites then recorded record temperatures between May and July only for hail storms to hit in early August.

The Champagne Bureau said: “Frequent rainstorms since the start of harvesting [on September 4], just when the grapes were fully ripe, have led to a careful sorting of the grapes.

“Because of the frost and hail in August and the careful selection process, the maximum authorised yield set for this year (10,300 kg/ha) may not be achieved in every part of the region, with winegrowers and houses drawing on the Champagne reserve to supplement this year’s production.”

It added: “The average alcohol content of the musts, frequently exceeding 10% in volume, paired with satisfactory acidity levels suggest the balance of the vintage is promising.

“However, as always in Champagne, the quality will not be known until after the first tastings of the base wines in early spring.”