French farmers burn candles in Chablis vineyards in late April in an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by severe frost. At this time of year, as vendage season looms, there is usually an air of excitement in the wine trade as we discover what nature has delivered. But this year we know the news will be bad.
France’s 2021 vintage will not be bountiful with April’s frosts affecting up to 80 per cent of vineyards countrywide.
In April, France’s Agriculture Minister, Julien Denormandie, said it was “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century”. The general feeling is that yields at a country level will be down by 30 per cent. It will be dramatically higher in Burgundy where many of the northern vineyards experienced a crop loss of 80-90 per cent.
At the end of April we received these sad words from our direct Chablis supplier, Domaine du Colombier: “Nous venons vous annoncer des mauvaises nouvelles. Nous avons été durement touché par le gel, avec 95 % de perte sur le millésime 2021.” Losing 95 per cent of a vintage can be only described as a disaster and so our hearts go out to our Burgundian growers and we hope that what is harvested is of exceptional quality.