Grapes were harvested in Condrieu and Cote Rôtie this past week in beautiful weather and the vintage looks good in quality however limited in quantity. Due to problems with flowering in May, the yield i.e. quantity of grapes is significantly smaller than in an average year. In particular for Viognier, the quantity is 50% less than usual.
Thursday morning started with punch-down of the grape must in to the grape juice for the maceration of the Landonne block of Cote-Rôtie which was harvested a day earlier. We were happy to pick Viognier for Condrieu and Vin de Pays and most Syrah for Côte Rôtie before the rain which started pouring on us after 6 on Friday (Oct 4th) evening. The rain lasted only the evening and part of the night while beautiful sunshine on Saturday morning helped dry the grapes. The rain was supposed to last for 30 hours but as it lasted significantly less, vignerons were fortunate that the risk of dilution of grape juice was not as high as expected. It takes 3 days for the water to climb up to the grapes, however the last grapes were scheduled to be picked up in Monday, thus the rain water does not have time to reach grapes.
Wine harvest in Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie is a balancing act, literally. The steep terraces are a challenge for the pickers and the carriers of 32 kg grape baskets. The photos do not entirely make justice to the steepness of the terraces but after this, Burgundy's flat vineyards are a piece of cake.