As a packaging business closely connected to the wine trade October is always an interesting month as news of the yearly wine harvest gathers pace.
Historically in Germanic countries, October was known as ‘Wein-mond’, the Old German name for ‘wine month’, due to the importance of the wine harvest in October.
The news on the harvest this year seems mixed, with a turbulent year of weather in several regions in France for example. After a rainy start to the season followed by a very hot and dry summer there is a growing sense of optimism, although Bordeaux is one of the only French wine regions set to slightly increase its yield compared with 2015. Frost and hailstorms have blighted several other areas, including Burgundy, Loire and Champagne.
English winemakers appear very optimistic and the warm days of early autumn seem to be suiting the English growers. It was great to read a Tweet from Ridgeview Wine (official suppliers of wine for Downing Street receptions no less!) this week
“Almost there! Thanks to the lovely sunshine we can hang on for another few days to make this a vintage to be treasured #Harvest2016 “ @RidgeviewWineUK
A good harvest is great news for English winemakers as they look set to make 2016 their strongest year to date as sales and award wins continue to soar. The continued interest in sparkling wines is contributing to growth for English wines in the UK, while award wins are also helping to boost awareness.
There have also been an increasing number of English wine producers coming to the market with 37 new producers and vineyards opening in England last year, and recently Waitrose announced English sparkling wine was its fastest growing sparkling wine category.
Elsewhere in Europe, it’s still early days for many, but there has been promising feedback from Italy.
In California, winemakers are looking forward to a year of more normal yields after a relatively small and early harvest last year.
I salute winemakers (and drinkers!) everywhere in this ‘wine month’ and look forward to protecting all those precious wine bottles as they are dispatched to customers around the world in the months to come.
Cheers everyone, and good luck with the harvest 2016!
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