Laurent Kox of L&R Kox in Remich began the vendanges (grape harvest) on 30 August, harvesting the pinotin variety, pictured
Photo: L&R Kox
Luxembourg winemakers are experiencing their earliest grape harvest ever at the end of August—a question of changing tastes and global warming.
Laurent Kox of L&R Kox in Remich began the vendanges (grape harvest) on 30 August, harvesting the pinotin variety, a hybrid red grape created from crossing resistant vines with Pinot Noir.
“It was exceptional. We’ve never seen this before in Luxembourg, having a harvest in August!”, Kox told Delano, adding: “We’re not the first in Luxembourg.”
L&R Kox grows around 10 different grape varieties. Kox was able to predict the early harvest based on when the vines flowered--winemakers traditionally begin the harvest 100 days later, depending on grape ripeness.
He suggests that the early harvest resulted from a handful of factors, among them spells of hot weather. He said: “We have tried to do other things. We’ve varieties which mature earlier than others and require less treatment. That, coupled with climate change, resulted in an early harvest.”
He added that a growing demand for fresher wines with a lower alcoholic content has also led to a tendency to pick the grapes before the sugar content gets too high.
“That’s a problem in France and it’s why they start early,” he said.
Despite the early harvest, Kox expects a lower than average yield this year. “But, it’s enough for our market. If you have too much volume, it’s also not good.”
Luxembourg winemakers are not alone in harvesting their grapes earlier than usual.
In France’s Champagne region, the harvest takes place two weeks earlier than it did 20 year ago and in Bordeaux this year the first harvest entered the cellars on 21 August, the earliest ever recorded according to Decanter.