COMMENTS FROM DECEMBER 2020 – Word Cloud showing percentage total wine production by grape variety in 2019.
We did provide a comprehensive report on the Alsace wine production numbers for the 2017 harvest year. You can even download a PDF version. We intend to publish a comprehensive report every three or four years, as due to the nature of 15,000+ hectares of vines, there are few major changes that occur year to year. The “normal” annual variations are largely to do with the weather conditions, and these can be covered in a couple of paragraphs of text.
The next major report will be for the 2020 harvest, when the numbers are published in 2021 by the C.I.V.A. 2020 will be an interesting and key year as a statistical marker, as the disruption of Covid19 and Trumps tariffs on French wine will have made an impact on general distribution and export.
As mentioned in the 2017 report, that year took a hit in total yield due to a couple of days of extreme frost in April. Gewurztraminer was particularly impacted in certain sectors. There was a large rebound in 2018, 23% up in yield from 2017. For the following 2019 harvest, total vineyard yield was back down to 1,028,705 Hectolitres. That’s equivalent of around 140+ million, 750 cl bottles. This could be considered as a “standard” year in Alsace, for total wine produced from 15,623 hectares of planted vines.
A few notes from winemaker visits on that 2018 bumper crop. We only managed a day of picking at Jean-Marc Dreyer’s in Rosheim. This was right at the end of the harvest, but we had passed by a couple of weeks earlier when Jean-Marc was juggling with every foudre, barrel, crusher, bin and trailer he had, to manage the glut of fruit coming in every day. On a visit to Jean-Pierre Frick’s in March 2019, he explained it was the first time ever that he felt totally taken up by a harvest, that the harvest was in control of him and he just had to go with it. He said something along the lines “that nature truly ran the show”. Another take on 2018 came from Lucas Rieffel at a visit this July (2020) in Mittelbergheim. Lucas explained that there is a tendency to manage to lower yields for quality, but twice in three harvests, bumper crops came in due to ideal weather conditions. He said that winemakers were getting used to this and working out how best to manage it. Lucas said this was not a bad thing.
We will finish up with a comment on Pinot Noir production in Alsace. It is regularly reported that the planted area is going up, and so it has, from 198 hectares to 1,737 hectares in 50 years.
That comes in at 11% of the wine region’s vineyards. One of the drivers for this, is the dossier for Pinot Noir to be recognized as a Grand Cru variety. A dossier which is slowly making its way through the layers of French wine bureaucracy. But only 10% of the Pinot Noir production goes to red wine, the rest is destined for Alsace’s ever growing cremant output, the main driver for Pinot Noir vineyards.
Compiled by the Back In Alsace Project
A report based on the data released in April 2018 by the CIVA (Conseil Interprofessional Vins d’Alsace).