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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Crisis looms for lovers of Burgundy wines

Wine lovers should prepare for shortages of their favourite Burgundies with yields down dramatically in the 2021 vintage.

The latest figures released by the Burgundy wine marketing bureau, the BIVB, point to a crop of around 900 to 950,000 hectolitres of Burgundy grapes in 2021. 

That volume equates to “about 50 % of a normal year”, and “2/3 of the average in recent years”, Vitisphere reports.

The survey of winegrowers paints an “extremely varied picture across the wine region,” said Frédéric Drouhin, chairman of the BIVB.

“Generally speaking, the white wines from the Côte d'Or and the Côte Chalonnaise were particularly badly affected," he said. 

"The reds fared slightly better. In terms of yields, the range this vintage is between 30 and 31 hl/ha. “In the Côte de Nuits, it’s not bad. But in Chablis, the crop has been halved.”

The frosts that occurred in in April are the major cause of the shortfall, but there was also hail in some areas. 

The figures are higher than the top-end range of post-harvest estimates, but they are still particularly concerning for the industry. 

“You have to revert back to 1985 to find volumes below 1 million hectolitres in Burgundy, and 1981 to find lower yields,” said Drouhin.

The situation is compounded by a succession of “small” vintages in the region over the past 10 years, with only 2017 and 2018 considered “normal”. 

Consequently, inventories are dwindling. 

"With a pretty low 2021 crop, we will have to manage markets smartly,” said Drouhin.

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