2012 Bordeaux Vintage; not an easy one so far for the wine producers

Summer has definitely arrived in the vineyards of Bordeaux with temperatures this week of over 30°C. The vines have finished flowering and the little grapes are swelling in their bunches. There has been some ‘coulure’ with some of the little berries staying small which will bring yields down – not a bad thing. The combination of the rain during flowering and the warm temperatures has meant that mildew has been an increased risk this year. In fact a spraying expert for the region a week or so ago commented that the only vines that he has seen that had no mildew at all were organic vines that have been sprayed every 6 days with Bouillie Bordelaise (copper sulphate)! The usual interval for spraying with sulphate is 14 days. The hot dry weather experienced currently has put an end to this risk for the moment anyhow. Still can see a difference of stages between bunches of the same vine which does not bode well for uniform ripeness at harvest time.

Mildew on the grapes which has an effect on the yield and quality

2 thoughts on “2012 Bordeaux Vintage; not an easy one so far for the wine producers

  1. First of all, thank you for the updates: they are very interesting. Second, when I look at the ‘Weather’ records on the Palmer website and lay 2009 and 2012 over each other, this looks like a re-run of 2009. I suppose what is now needed is a warm summer with no real heat spikes. In what ways does 2012 now differ? If it was a re-run, would it end up with a significantly different result based on what has happened to date?

    1. Dear Mark, I have not looked at the Palmer site but this year is certainly beating all the records in terms of rainfall and storms (and so far not much sun). Producers and oenologists are so far comparing it to 2008 but as you know this is a risky thing to do so early in the summer. You are right we are now looking for lots of sun, particularly late in the season to keep any rot at bay and enable producers to pick late when the grapes are good and ripe. The climate in Bordeaux is so temperate with its close proximity to so much water (the Atlantic and the Rivers) and its relatively northerly latitude 45° that each vintage is unique. One period of rain at a sensitive time changes everything – which makes Bordeaux so interesting and volatile and underlines the importance of following good wine producers who can react quickly to changing conditions. Will continue to keep you posted, Nicolle Croft

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