The harvest of Champagne grapes kicked off on Monday, about two weeks earlier than usual, with the industry predicting a “very good” vintage of the prized bubbly thanks to ideal weather conditions.
The first contingent of the region’s army of about 120 000 seasonal workers have started work in several villages of the region’s southern Cote des Bar area.
All Champagne grapes are picked by hand.
“The remarkable condition of the grapes and ideal weather conditions made starting the harvest early an easy decision,” the Comite Champagne said.
The ideal weather conditions of the spring and summer promise an “excellent 2018 vintage”, said the group, which sets its harvest calendar by sampling the grapes’ maturity, alcohol content and acidity.
Some producers even jumped the gun, with Champagne Beaufort Reol starting its harvest last Friday.
Vintner Jacques Beaufort said: “If I’d waited another week, the harvest would have been ruined.”