As the 2015 vintage looks exceptional, what can we expect from the 2016 vintage? The weather at the beginning of 2016 was not favourable for the vines in several regions. The combination of frost, hail and mildew in some appellations may herald a black year for our winegrowers. We interviewed two winegrowers in Chablis and Beaujolais to find out their feelings and forecasts for the 2016 vintage!
2016 is a much more difficult year. The consecutive episodes of frost and hail could lead to a lack of production, which could also have an impact on the 2017 vintage.
Jean Paul and Benoit Droin are owners of 26Ha in Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premiers crus and Grands crus. Almost 40% of the plots were affected by the frost at the end of April. If buds have grown back, production is estimated at between 5 and 10 hL/Ha, 6 to 7 times less than normal on these plots. And then It's the hail. which rages twice in May destroying several vineyards: Cognac, Chablis, Madiran, Beaujolais. The Droin family is once again affected on plots that had previously been spared from frost.
According to Benoit Droin,
« the storms were violent, destructive and devastating. Added to the frost, 65% of the total surface area is impacted».
The consequences of the accumulation of these episodes are serious:
« on some plots, all is lost, but in addition, it will be very complicated to redo a size to hope to have something good in 2017 ».
Further south, in Beaujolais, Mr. Rivière works 25 Ha of vines, including a parcel located in the severely affected area of Chirouble. The plot is declared more than 99% destroyed by the expert, eliminating harvest hopes for this year. Nevertheless, despite this targeted damage, the plots not affected by frost and hail are slowly continuing the growing cycle and the balance remains positive:
"We have a nice harvest potential. A normal harvest, not a surplus one, but not a small one as we have tended to have in recent years. In the south of Beaujolais, if it goes all the way, it'll be good. »
Frost and hail should not make us forget the pressure of mildew, which is very strong on the vineyards of northern France following the rains in June. In Beaujolais, Mr. Rivière notes that this pressure decreases considerably with the return of good weather. But in Chablis, and in many other appellations, the situation is more complicated:
"it's the third plague that's coming to hit us again. If we do the calculation, [...] the parts that did not freeze have hail [...]. And to top it all off, everything that could still pass through, today we are fighting not to lose a crop because of downy mildew. »
Manon (Les Grappes)