As we enter August and summer hits full swing, the 2020 harvest is only weeks away. Looking back at the vintage to date, 2020 has so far been very positive.
Weather conditions across the South of France have been kind; a welcome relief after the extreme and unpredictable climate of recent years. In June 2019 Languedoc recorded France’s highest ever temperature of 45.9oC.
For the 2019 vintage we included Caladoc in the blend, a crossing of Grenache and Malbec, in an effort to combat climate. Being more resistant to intense heat and drought, Caladoc proved it’s worth in the 2018 vintage where nearly 60% of vines in areas of Southern France were devastated by the extreme conditions.
Bijou recognises climate change as an increasing threat to viticulture in the South of France and we are constantly exploring innovative measures in line with global warming.
Located along the Mediterranean coast, the Coteaux de Béziers region benefits from the cool and humid winds that sweep in off the sea, helping to maintain stable temperatures and moisture levels in the vineyards. These winds also carry an abundance of minerals and sea salts that enrich the soils and bring a beautiful minerality to the wines.
During the latter months of 2019 Béziers experienced a mild and wet winter which allowed the vines to recuperate after an extremely hot summer.
Mild temperatures and higher rainfall in spring were a great combination for budburst. Despite the increased rainfall, the Grenache grapes, which are usually more sensitive to viticultural hazards, have shown no signs of rot or millerandage.
The abundance of water also stimulated good foliage growth which is important to provide shade for the bunches in a Mediterranean summer and also positive photosynthesis – like all plants, the surface area of the leaves is linked to the ripening of the fruit.
Guillaume, who heads up Bijou’s winemaking team, explained that “so far 2020 is setting up to be an outstanding vintage. The vineyard is looking clean and green. However, everything can change over the next 2 months. Touch wood we won’t experience any natural disasters between now and harvest. We’ve had other problems to deal with this year.”