CULTURE Easy pickings: Champagne harvest starts early


Easy pickings: Champagne harvest starts early


07:58, August 21, 2018


Champagne grapes are all harvested by hand, requiring the labour of 120,000 mainly seasonal workers. (Photo: AFP)

Champagne's grape harvest kicked off on Monday, about two weeks earlier than usual, with the industry predicting a "very good" vintage of the prized bubbly thanks to ideal weather conditions.

The first contingent of the region's army of around 120,000 seasonal workers -- all Champagne grapes are picked by hand -- got to work in several villages of the region's southern Cote des Bar area.

"The remarkable condition of the grapes and ideal weather conditions made starting the harvest early an easy decision," the Comite Champagne said in a statement.

The ideal weather conditions of the spring and summer promise an "excellent 2018 vintage", said the group, which sets its harvest calendar by sampling the grapes' maturity, alcohol content and acidity.

Some producers even jumped the gun, with Champagne Beaufort Reol -- an organic vineyard -- starting its harvest last Friday.

"There were already lots of good, ripe grapes on the ground" as the workers began picking, vintner Jacques Beaufort told AFP.

"If I'd waited another week, the harvest would have been ruined."

The schedule will see the region's 300 or so winegrowing villages gradually join the picking through the end of August and up to September 2.

Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue