WASHINGTON – The Champagne region of France announced the start dates for the 2020 harvest, with villages commencing harvest as early as August 17 and into next week. The start dates vary by each village and grape varietal, ensuring that every plot is picked at the optimal ripeness. The August 17 start is two weeks ahead of the 10-year average and the earliest start in history.
“The early start date is a reminder that the steps the region is taking to reduce its impact on the environment and adapt to climate change are vital,” said Jennifer Hall, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA. “While the harvest certainly looks different this year, the growers and producers will continue to ensure that Champagne arrives in the United States in the months and years to come.”
In 2003, Champagne was the first wine-growing region in the world to implement a plan to address the changing climate. Since then, the wine industry in the region has reduced its carbon emissions by 20 percent and currently 20 percent of vineyards in the region hold an environmental certification.
While the harvest’s quality is promising, the Champagne region has had to adapt as it faces the economic and health consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Champagne Growers and Houses agreed to a yield of 8,000 kilos per hectare (equivalent to 230 million bottles) for the 2020 harvest.
As is the case each year, all the grapes are handpicked — part of the Champagne appellation’s strict regulations and one of the key steps to producing the unique, high-quality sparkling wine that only comes from Champagne, France. This year, picking conditions for the 100,000 seasonal workers have been adapted to the health crisis.
The Champagne Houses and Growers also wish to express their greatest thanks and warmest encouragement to the medical staff and officials on the front lines of the pandemic, both in France and around the world.
The Champagne Bureau, USA, is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Champagne, a trade association which represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. The Bureau works to educate U.S. consumers about the uniqueness of the wines of Champagne and expand their understanding of the need to protect the Champagne name. For more information, visit us online at http://www.champagne.com.