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Hard times in Burgundy, and a road warrior begins the journey...

I’m heading off to Champagne and Burgundy shortly for an extended trip – I won’t be back until the end of June. As much as I’m looking forward to all of it, I know I’ll be arriving to a lot of sad faces and harsh realities. As you likely have by now read and seen in my postings and elsewhere, Burgundy was hit by a killer spring frost on the morning of April 27th.

Unlike hailstorms, which are typically confined to smaller zones, this disaster was all-inclusive. From Chablis to the Mâconnais, hardly anyone was spared, it seems. Meursault and Chablis were hit harder than most, with 80-90% crop losses reported there by my friends at Buisson-Charles in Meursault and Fred Gueguen up north. Volnay and Pommard were once again decimated, coming on the heels of devasting hail damage in 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014. The Mâconnais was ripped to shreds by a hailstorm on April 13th that left many with little or nothing for the 2016 vintage, and then they got the frost as well! Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin all took savage blows from the frost too.

Tender buds frozen dead in Meursault...

Tender buds frozen dead in Meursault...

The frost on its own was brutal, but added in with five consecutive low-yielding vintages from 2010-2014, a lot of Burgundy has been brought to its knees. I’ve seen hard times there before – I witnessed the monstrous hailstorm in June 2014 – but I suspect this time it may be a knockout blow for a number of already cash-strapped producers. Martha and I have brainstormed different ideas on how best to help. At the end of the day, it seems the best course is to continue to support the producers –  by simply buying their wines. We’re there for our partners in good times and bad (and through all these rough years they’ve continued to make some amazing wines!) This is what we will continue to do, with hopes that you’ll continue to support them as well.

We’re doing our first customer tours of Champagne this year! We’ve had so much demand that we filled two tours there, as well as our annual tour in Burgundy. Keep your eye on this blog for tons of pictures and reports from all of our adventures over there, and watch your email for all the offers I’ll be sending out as I find great wines for us and firm-up allocations for all the new releases.

Also, I can now officially announce that we’re making a movie! I’ve teamed up with film-maker/author David Baker – producer-director of American Wine Story – and we’ve developed a project we’re calling Three Days of Glory, an inside look at the lives and events involved in Burgundy’s annual Les Trois Glorieuses festivities, including the legendary Paulée de Meursault and Hospices de Beaune Auction. We start shooting at the end of the month – very exciting stuff !


Thanks for coming along on our never-ending and unpredictable journeys through Burgundy and Champagne. Cheers !