THE 2018 HARVEST
The fall of 2017 was dry until the end of October, allowing the winegrowers to work the land and enable the abundant rain in November and December to penetrate deep into the soil. January 2018was also very wet, with 350mm of rain and the mildest temperatures since 1945. February, however, was dry and fairly cold; some 2-3° below seasonal norms.
Rain returned in force in March with 110mm falling across the month, compared to an average of 50mm. This allowed reserves to be built up, which were greatly appreciated later in the season. Right from the start of April, the weather turned unusually mild. This led to rapid budburst across the region in the middle of the month. The shoots grew so fast that it took just a week for the vines to show three full leaves, and no longer be under threat from frost.
May was also striking, with almost constant sunshine and very warm temperatures. Fungal diseases such as downy and powdery mildew cropped up in places, but in general were very well contained. We nonetheless had to remain vigilant and spray regularly with sulfur. FLOWERING occurred between 22- 30 May, indicating a very early harvest.
June saw the hot and sunny weather continue, with extremely favorable conditions. A few rainstorms struck at the right time to stop the vines suffering any hydric stress, which began to threaten towards the end of the month in some sectors. BUNCH CLOSURE occurred on the Côte de Beaune around 30 June.
Then in early July, the first signs of VERAISON were seen on those vines that had not suffered from lack of water. Sunshine was at a maximum and growth slowed in places, particularly in terms of the younger vines or those on shallower soil. Inversely, the older vines and those on deeper soil really benefitted from the water reserves established earlier on in the year. A few rain showers of 15-20mm in mid- August helped the grapes advance in terms of ripening. As 20 August approached, some of the whites in those areas that ripen early had attained the levels we wanted for harvest, unlike the Pinot Noir grapes which appreciate the heat and need more time. The days were hot and sunny.
As in 2015, we opted to start harvesting at an easy pace on 27 August, taking advantage of the exceptional weather and adapting our picking to avoid the heat. Picking ended with the most late- ripening vines on 15 September.