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Another Champagne tour in the books

This is the first chance I’ve had to catch my breath since arriving a week ago. Our annual Insiders tour of Champagne was a massive success, and now I’ve got a week to catch up on work before my next group arrives in Burgundy.  


The update from Champagne - there’s a potentially huge crop hanging in the vineyards, with bigger clusters than most producers have ever seen. Some isolated sectors have been hit by hailstorms that have wiped out the crop in limited areas, but everywhere else there’s a big load on the way.  



April and May were much warmer than normal, so the vines got off to an early and vigorous start. Rainstorms, some heavy, have been arriving every few days over the recent weeks. All that together has the crop 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule, causing the vignerons to compress work that would typically spread out until the end of July but now must be finished by the end of June. The frequent rain has been sending them scrambling to spray again and again - one producer reported spraying 8 times in the last three weeks! 



Every year I take the group to one of the Grand Marques, just for perspective. The caves at Ruinart are truly stunning - but it seems like Disneyland compared to the family operations we work with.  

Massive thanks to Cyril Janisson for a great vineyard and winery tour and tasting for the crew yesterday. He’s one of the true characters in Champagne and incredibly generous with his time and the beautiful Janisson-Baradon wines.  



In the Epernay vines with Cyril.  



After days on end of gastronomic delights, it felt right to wrap up the tour with a great burger at the new Sacre Bistro in Epernay - highly recommended! 



Now a few days seeing growers here before heading down to Beaune. More as it happens...