Beset by problems caused by both the weather and the pandemic, the harvest in Monbazillac is underway, being about one third through as of 15th October with another two weeks to go.
According to Guillaume Barou, president of the Cave Cooperative de Monbazillac, the harvest in 2021 will be roughly half the quantity of last year, representing 15hl/ha instead of 27hl/ha. He explained that frosts in April resulted in a 30% loss and the current wastage at harvest adds a further 20% loss, due to rot (not noble!) affecting the crop in both August and September.
Thankfully, since all Monbaillac is hand harvested, the rigorous selection of the pickers will maintain quality. At this early stage it is too soon to determine final quality, but the estimate is of a lesser year than 2019 and 2020. Sunny dry, weather with misty mornings in the last 10 days has helped enormously, both for the pickers and for noble rot, but staff shortages both for picking and crucially in the chais, due to continuing effects of Covid19, have caused significant problems. My brief interview with Guillaume took place at lunchtime, as the president himself was otherwise hard at work in the winery.
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