News - The 2021 vintage: A two-speed start

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The 2021 vintage: A two-speed start

What is the status of the future vintage in Bourgogne, a few weeks after the spring frost?

The 2021 vintage in Bourgogne


The 2021 vintage began with an exceptional frost, which will certainly lead to slashed yields on harvesting. However, the story is yet to be written, and hopefully, it may turn out better than some predict.

The winter of 2020-2021 was marked by alternating mild and cold weather. On average, it was milder and wetter than normal, when compared to the period 1994-2020. After a significant cooling in mid-March, temperatures rose markedly, even becoming summer-like during Easter week from 29 March to 3 April.

The vines’ growth cycle was then suddenly stimulated, and in the space of a few days to early April, some plots, notably the Chardonnays, reached the mid-bud stage.

An equally brutal change in weather then occurred on the night of 5 April, with the arrival of a large mass of polar air. This caused significant nighttime frosts, from 6-9 April in particular. The earliest sectors and plots were the hardest hit, despite the efforts of the winegrowers.

It remains almost impossible right now to evaluate the real impact of this frost event, especially as other episodes of frost took place through until the beginning of May, in the north of Bourgogne in particular.

Temperatures remained cool through to mid-April and the less advanced plots or sectors have struggled to continue budburst. We had to wait until the return of milder conditions after 19 April for the primary buds to start developing again. However, these averages hide great disparities across the patchwork of plots and even within each one.

Despite the number of frozen buds, there is still hope. The secondary buds are still there and although generally less fertile, they will still carry some bunches. Their bud break will take place later, however, causing a shift in the vines’ development.

Our winegrowers are still hard at work taking care of their vines, and there is still much to hope for. This vintage is far from over!