Champagne’s governing body, the Comité Champagne, said the vineyards had loved a ‘distress-free’ start to their growing cycle this year. But it added, ‘The drought that has set in since late May has left the vines small of water and this, in addition to the heatwaves in June and July, has slowed vine progression.
‘Now, more than ever, weather conditions over the appearance weeks will be crucial for the grape harvest’s number and quality.’
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Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne, said vineyards across Champagne were in a excellent state, with ‘not a lot of pressure’ from toadstool.
‘In terms of number of bunches per vine, it is a low one, particularly for the Pinot Meunier,’ he added.
Barillère said the choice on maximum permitted yields was based on liable future demand and current stock levels, with Champagne houses keen not to allocate stock levels to rise further.
Some 307m bottles of Champagne were shipped in 2014, up 0.7% on the previous year, but below early forecasts. Comité Champagne said sales for the first half of 2015 had been ‘stable’ compared with the same period last year.
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