Loire 2022: Harvest

The need for harvest arrived with a brutal rapidity. I had a week of rest and relaxation planned at my house south of Chinon, with the idea that I might undertake one or two visits in Vouvray, to those vignerons who weren’t on holiday. I had not anticipated that my trip would coincide with the start of picking, but that was what happened. I soon found myself behind the wheel, driving down to Muscadet country.

Likewise, not far away in Chinon, Jérôme Billard and family returned home to Domaine de la Noblaie after a week’s holiday. After dropping off his bags Jérôme stepped out to make a tour of the vines to see how they were progressing. Within a few minutes he had returned home.

“Start phoning the team”, he said to his wife Élodie. “We start picking tomorrow.”

It was an early harvest, and a quick one. It began in mid-August in Muscadet and quickly progressed upstream. The fruit for the dry wines – white and red – had largely been picked before the end of September. Only those holding out for sweeter styles would pick any later than this.


The official ban des vendanges for Muscadet was August 23rd, and most vignerons were picking on or soon after this day. The Lieubeau family started on August 26th, earlier than 1989, 2011 and 2017, but later than 2003. Their yield was 43 hl/ha, an impressive figure given the frost, even more so when you consider that 50 hectares of the estate is run using solely organic methods. The warm and dry conditions helped of course, by reducing the disease pressure (which also meant less spraying and reduced costs). Domaine de la Pépière brought in 40 hl/ha, another good harvest, and Rémi and Gwénaëlle will surely make the full range of cru communal wines this year.

Loire 2022

Once the frost risk had passed, and apart from rainy weather in Sancerre in June, this was a season which caused less stress in the vineyard than many.

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