Well, we certainly live in interesting times, that’s for sure.  The latest figures released by the Selon la Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux de France (The Federation of French Wine & Spirit Exporters) showed that in the first six months of the year, exports of cognac leapt by 20 per cent (an increase of approx. €200 million), with Asia being the driving force behind this.

Vineyards to be harvested

However, this year Mother Nature has so far not been her most gentle, and this naturally takes its toll on the vines and the grapes we rely on for production of our eaux-de-vie.  As we’ve reported before, the 2012 harvest will be a good few weeks later than last year.  And the weather in the next three weeks will prove crucial as to the quality and quantity that we can expect to see.

vineyards-cognac-grapes

At a meeting held two weeks ago by the Cognac par l’Union Générale des Viticulteurs pour l’AOC Cognac (UGVC), head of the Experimentation Service within the BNIC,  Gérald Ferrari, said, “We don’t know what awaits us in the next three weeks.”

Many factors have come together this year to have an effect on the harvest.  The heat is one, and this has resulted in a drop in the acidity of the fruits.  And there has been the worrying and ever present problem of both mildew and flavescence dorée.

The BNIC took samples last Monday, and have determined that losses are likely to not be as severe as 2007, when mildew and disease were last a big issue.  However, diseases of the vines are a constant problem, and one that naturally concerns growers and producers massively.  Studies are in progress to monitor these diseases, and for the industry to have further knowledge as to why some vines are resistant and others not so.

The BNIC predicts…

So, if the harvest does begin in late September, the predictions made by the BNIC are that the yield will be somewhere close to 90 hl/ha – a big drop on last year’s prediction at the same time of 120 hl/ha.

On another note, the figures just released by the BNIC show that out of the 74,375 hectares of vineyards in the Cognac growing region, 97.87 per cent will be destined to produce eaux-de-vie in 2013.  This is a slight increase on last year’s figure of 97.13 per cent.

Sources: www.sudouest.fr

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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