The Burgundy harvest is always tricky, and predicting the start of harvest is difficult, as there is a significant variation in timing amongst the growers.
According to my sources – different ones – harvest for most is likely to start around September10 for the whites, whereas start for the reds is set for September 15-20, with a likelihood towards the latter dates in the Côte de Nuits.
The variation from grower to grower can be very large – so one could well see some start earlier than the dates noted above.
The theory – or “rule of thumb” – is that harvest starts 100 days after mid-flowering.
Floraison (flowering) began in early June (in Chassagne, June 3) and calculating 100 days forward from then gets us to Wednesday September 11 – quite close to September 10, when some growers are currently planning to start.
But in reality, because of the hot summer, 100 days could well be too much. What’s more, calculating them is complicated, because “mid-flowering” is a moving point. In hot, dry, still years, flowering can take less than a week from start to finish. In wet, cool, windy years, it can drag out for more than two weeks.
For many growers, a better gauge for harvest is 40 days from mid-veraison (color change in the red grapes). But then again, what is “mid-“veraison?
In the Cote de Beaune this year, it was near the end of the first week of August; a bit later in the Cote de Nuits. So if we take August 7 as an average, 40 days would take us to September 15 or so for the start. At this point, therefore, it is fair to say harvest will start sometime in the middle of September. How’s that for accuracy?