Since 1900, the gradual increase in global warming has brought the harvest date in Champagne from late September/early October to late August, with the earliest harvest date in 2020 starting on an unprecedented 17 August, making 2020 the earliest harvest year ever in the Champagne region.
Image courtesy of: ComiteChampagne
The earliest years since 1900 to the present when harvesting began in August are.
2015: August 29th
2017: August 26th
2007: August 23rd
2003: August 21
2018: August 20
2011: August 19
2020: August 17
Due to the perfect ripeness of the grapes in the appellation this year, the harvest meeting scheduled for August 17, 2020 was temporarily moved up to August 15, 2020. During the meeting, the Champagne farmers and the châteaux worked together to define the harvesting times for each village and each grape variety in the appellation.
Earliest recommended harvest date this year: August 17, 2020
The Aube region, the southernmost part of the appellation, naturally bears the brunt of the harvest, with several villages ready to start harvesting Pinot Noir and Meunier from today, while Chardonnay will basically have to wait two to three more days.
This year"s latest recommended harvest date: August 30, 2020
Pinot Noir from the villages of Bzu-le-Gury and Montreuil-aux-Lions in the department of Enner, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier from the village of Grauves in the department of Marne, and Pinot Noir from the village of Saacy-sur-Marne in the department of Seine-et-Marne will be harvested no earlier than August 30, 2020.
High temperatures, drought, early ripening, rapid ripening process, excellent health, with striking similarities between the vintages, yet each wonderful in its own way. As in 2019, the grapes had outstanding acidity and slightly less color (sugar).
There is no doubt that both physiological (aromatic substances) and technical ripening of the grapes can only be achieved when the sugar content of the grape is sufficiently high, i.e. close to or above 10.5% for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, and close to or above 10% for Meunier grapes.
As in previous years, the harvest report only suggests the earliest harvest date for each village and each grape variety, while each winery and farmer will have to finalize their own harvest date based on their own grape sampling and ripeness observations, in order to harvest the perfect grapes.