Since 1956, a grape ripening observation network has been in place in Champagne in order to better monitor the growth and harvest of the grapes in the appellation.
Image courtesy of: ComiteChampagne
On Mondays and Thursdays, samples of grapes are taken from different plots in the appellation and measured for potential alcohol, ripeness, grape weight, sugar content, total acidity and percentage of gray mold. On the evening of the measurements, the Champagne Committee compiles and uploads the detailed data for each plot and grape variety to the intranet for easy access by farmers and wineries, and advises on the final harvest time based on this information.
This Monday, August 3, 2020, the Champagne Ripening Observation Network has been officially launched in 603 plots throughout the appellation.
According to the first observations: the Aube region has the best ripeness, especially for Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes, which are already over 50% and 60% ripe respectively.
In 2019, the start of the observation network was on August 19, while the earliest harvest was on September 2; this year, the start of the observation network was 16 days earlier than the previous year.