With budburst almost two weeks ahead of a typical schedule, the 2020 vintage was destined to be early even back in spring. Ripening in the Sauvignon and Semillon grapes was already well advanced by mid-July, yet slowed slightly in the intense heat of July and August. On 7th August, Bordeaux recorded 39.6°C in the shade! The rainy spell that ensued the following week and dip in night-time temperatures, once again kickstarted the process. The grapes are in excellent health, it’s all systems go.

From 15th August, numerous checks in the vineyard and laboratory testing soon confirmed  our findings: the 2020 harvest will be one of the earliest on record in our vineyards. On Monday 24th August at first light, a small team of pickers was all set for a few hours’ harvesting on a parcel of Sauvignon blanc at Château La Garde. The first grapes were safely ensconced in our baskets by 8am.  We made an early start to take full advantage of the cool of the morning and preserve the balance and aromatic character of the grapes.

It’s just a taster of what’s to come” explains Frédéric Bonnaffous. “We harvested this batch of Sauvignon from an early-ripening gravel-clay plot at Château la Garde, but it will still take a couple of days for the rest of the vineyard to reach perfect ripeness. We are all set to commence picking at Château Rahoul on 27th August, and should be able to start at Château de Ricaud a few days later, where the clay soils are slightly cooler.”

To be continued…