The harvest in the Champagne Region began on 15 September this year. It was a challenging year. In late April, frosts hit almost a quarter of the Champagne appellation
area and the buds were completely destroyed across 14% of the vineyards.Throughout the spring rain, hail showers and storms were of biblical proportions and in some areas rainfall was to two to three times higher than the average recorded for the past 20 years. There then
followed a period of intense heat and some of the south facing areas suffered scalding of the fruit. All of this means fruit yields will be markedly lower. Shortfalls in volume will be made up by using vin clair from previous years. Perversely the wines could be more powerful and age better.
In Bouzy, in the third week of September the Plener family started with their crop of Bouzy Rouge vines and then moved on to their parcels of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Jean Francois is pleased with the Chardonnay grapes and is seen here (above) accompanying them on the way to the pressoir. His daughter Maud is in the centre of the picture to the left. She runs the team of 30 pickers whose services have been used for the last thirty years.