(Lille) The harvest in the Champagne vineyards in France began this weekend in Aube, although the majority of communes in the appellation will begin harvesting the bunches from Thursday for a year that promises to be “record » in volume, the Champagne Committee announced on Sunday.

If the first blows of pruning shears have already been given in Montgueux (Aube), the harvests will begin for the majority of the 319 communes of the appellation from September 7, David Chatillon, president of the Union des champagne houses and co-president of the Champagne Committee.

The authorized harvest start dates are set for each commune and each grape variety (Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Meunier) and last this year until September 16.

This harvest “is shaping up in terms of absolutely record volumes”, with a weight of the clusters “never reached” around “220 grams” against “175 grams” for the previous record in 2005, detailed Mr. Chatillon.

Qualitatively, “with the weather at the beginning of August, we have seen some outbreaks of botrytis appear which we are monitoring closely”, but “for the moment it is not exploding” and “the weather these days, which promises to be very beautiful, is ideal, it will dry up these places of rot”.

Thus “we can bring in something very beautiful and as there is a lot of quantity, we will be able to select better bunches”, rejoiced Mr. Chatillon.

Winegrowers and champagne houses have decided to set the marketable yield for the 2023 harvest at 11,400 kilos per hectare.

After an already excellent year 2021, driven by the reopening of bars and restaurants after the COVID-19 pandemic, the prestigious drink confirmed its rebound in 2022, with 325.5 million bottles sold (1.6%), the most high volume in 15 years, according to the annual report of the Interprofessional Champagne Wine Committee (CIVC).