The yield for the 2016 harvest, currently expected to begin around mid-September, has been set at 9,700 kilos per hectare with a further 1,100kgs/ha to be taken from the reserve at the start of February next year. This level of yield will potentially produce around 283m bottles with a further 32m bottles coming from the reserve next February, if appropriate, making a total production of 315m bottles. This compares with worldwide champagne shipments of 312.5m in 2015 and the news that the MAT total for shipments in the 12 months to the end of June 2016 were up just over 2%.
However, after a very difficult growing season in Champagne so far this year with frosts, disease and uneven flowering all reducing the actual potential yield from the 2016 harvest, it seems likely that in parts of champagne, particularly the southernmost Côte des Bar region, yields won’t even reach the 9,700kg/ha level. The Comité Champagne itself estimates that 14% of the total vineyard was destroyed by frost, rain and hail in the spring.
While they expect to be slightly over the 9,700kg/ha level in their own vineyards, Alice Paillard (Champagne Bruno Paillard) said last month (July) that many producers were not expecting to reach that level and some may be significantly below. Yves Couvreur, président des vignerons indépendants, also thinks [many] growers will struggle to reach this threshold [9,700kgs] even with the individual reserve, according to the l’Union newspaper.
However, as producers are allowed to make up any such shortfall from their reserves, and, prior to the 2015 harvest reserves stood at 8,700kgs/ha on average across the appellation, this won’t have a negative effect on the volume of champagne that could be made from the 2016 harvest.