With the dust now settling on the 2010 campaign, thoughts are gradually turning to the 2011 vintage. According to The Drinks Business, an exceptionally warm, dry spring has accelerated the growing season in Europe, forcing many wine-producing regions (including the Loire, Champagne and the Douro) to prepare for an early harvest. Bordeaux and Burgundy are reportedly considering an end-of-August start, whilst Champange is gearing up for the 20th – the region's earliest harvest in 189 years. (Read the full article here.)
To find out what has ben happening in Bordeaux we spoke to local grower and winemaker Gavin Quinney: "It is definitely very advanced, the grapes have already finished veraison, so we are probably about ten days ahead of the norm… The growing season started off very hot and very dry; up until mid-July we had drought conditions."
And though vignerons prayers for rain were answered, the last three weeks have seen rather too much of it, according to Quinney. "We've now started praying that we've seen the last of it. I have seen quite a bit of rot already and it is still very humid… We can already say that we aren't going to have another 'vintage of the century' like 2009 and 2010 – drought followed by heavy rain aren't the best conditions for making wine."
"Having said that, we still have some way to go. The red wine harvest won't start for at least another month. If the weather is kind, it could still be a very good vintage and yields are quite high. But it's a very risky time at the moment in Bordeaux and it could still go the other way."