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May 30, 2022 View:

2020 white wine makes for a rare vintage

From this week, the harvesting season of grapes for white wines began at the major Bordeaux chateaux.

Image from: European Times

Favorable weather conditions and hot weather during this year"s growing season led to early ripening of the grapes. Growers have high expectations for the quality of this year's white wines and believe that it may result in a rare good vintage.

But experts also warn that early ripening is neither a good nor a bad thing, and that it's too early to tell what the quality of future wines will be.

Picking workers to comply with the prevention of disease regulations

According to AFP, the harvesting season for grapes used to make white wine at Rouillac, near Bordeaux, began on the 18th.

Unlike previous years, this time the grape pickers not only had to prepare thermos pots filled with coffee, but also a no-rinse disinfectant; if they were working alone they did not need to wear masks, but if the workers crossed routes during the picking process, then they needed to wear masks to ensure safety.

Early picking season

Similar to the rest of the Bordeaux appellation, the harvesting season at Château Hoyac has been moved up by 10 to 15 days this year. One of the former owners of the estate was the famous Baron Haussmann, while current owner Laurent Cisneros, a former professional soccer player, said that the weather conditions in Bordeaux this year were very favorable, both hot and rainy, and that the quality of this year's wines was expected to be excellent, especially with the right acidity in the whites.

Philibert Perrin, the other owner of Hoyac, said they are likely to have a rare good vintage because the harvesting season was very sunny, which allowed the winery to pick the grapes at the best time in terms of aroma and taste.

At Chantegrive, where the white wines have been harvested since the 20th, Chlo Le Bouffo, deputy general manager, said that the weather during the flowering season was perfect, with sunshine, wind and not a drop of rain.

Early maturity does not guarantee the quality of the wine

However, wine expert Antoine Medeville warned that early grape ripening and hot weather are not necessarily a guarantee of quality, which tends to give Bordeaux wines good vintages, but that the opposite is also true, as in 2007. In the case of this year, however, the situation is very similar to that of 2011: a very mild winter and early flowering, an important sign of good quality grapes and a promising future. Axel Marchal, a teacher at the University of Bordeaux's Institute of Viticulture and Oenology, agrees that the early ripening of the grapes is neither a blessing nor a defect, and that it is still too early to judge the quality of the grapes, given that flowering and fruiting were already early before that.

Better cleanliness than previous years

According to Marschall, one positive result of the epidemic is that this year's white grape harvest in Bordeaux took place under very good sanitary conditions, so the grapes were cleaner than in previous years, which is a factor that gives cause for optimism.