New York, NY, September 6th, 2017 – The Loire Valley Wines Council is pleased to announce the start of the 2017 harvest season, which is set to yield a highly promising vintage. The future looks promising for the region’s international sales, especially in the U.S., which remains the Loire’s first export market, representing nearly 31% in value and 24% in volume. Overall, total volume of the 2017 vintage is expected to exceed last year’s production, with an approximate total of 2 million hectoliters.
An Early but Favorable Harvest
While harvest was originally complicated by April’s frost, damaging parts of the grapevines in the process, the abundant sunshine and mild nights of late August created the perfect conditions for the good ripening of the grapes, in turn leading to an earlier harvest. The 2017 vintage therefore promises to be very successful, thanks to excellent vine health and a perfect sugar and acidity balance.
Starting two weeks earlier than 2016, the 2017 harvest schedule in the Val de Loire is as follows:
- August 28th for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Crémant-de-Loire, Anjou and Saumur appellations
- September 1st for Melon de Bourgogne in the Muscadet appellations, and in Touraine for the crémants
- September 2nd for Gamay and Grolleau in the Rosé d’Anjou and Rosé de Loire appellations
- September 4th for Sauvignon Blanc in Touraine
- September 10th -15th for Chenin Blanc and the Cabernets
In Centre-Loire, which regroups the Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Pouilly-sur-Loire, Menetou-Salon, Quincy, Reuilly, Coteaux du Giennois and Châteaumeillant appellations, mild weather and overall great wine health facilitated harvest despite damages caused by frost.
A fresh and dry spring, followed by a moderately warm summer with frequent stormy showers, resulted in early grape maturity. Climatic conditions and grape development in Centre-Loire were akin to those associated with the 2005 vintage, recognized for its exceptional quality, white and sweet wines especially. While harvest began on September 4th for Pinot Gris in Reuilly, and ultimately remains at the discretion of individual winemakers, general harvest season is set to start between September 10th and 16th, about two weeks earlier than the past decade’s average starting time.
About Loire Valley Wines
The Loire Valley, referred to as the Garden of France, is known for its magnificent chateaux, rich history and runs at the heart of France with 5 distinct wine regions – Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, Centre-Loire – each with its own characteristics of grapes, appellations and styles. The wine-growing regions dotting the Loire’s banks feature no less than 4,000 wineries, 170,000 acres of vineyards and 61 appellations of origin, thus making the Loire Valley the third largest French wine making region. Producing 380 million bottles per year – be they red, rosé or white; still or sparkling; dry or semi-dry, supple or sweet – the Loire Valley is France’s leading producer of white wines and ranks second for rosés. The region as a whole exports 68 million bottles every year to 157 export markets.
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