Northern Hemisphere Vintage 2015: France

Vintage update France 2015There’s no such thing as an easy year for winemakers. Being at the mercy of the weather means you constantly have to adapt your plans and sometimes all it comes down to is luck.

We take a look at the 2015 harvest in France, where you can see just how fortunate growers in Chablis were, while winemakers in Rhone were lucky for very different reasons. The overall hot and dry summer in France means that quality is high, but yields are down or static compared to 2014. For many regions, late summer rains saved the majority of the crop.


• An extremely hot and dry vintage, saved by rainfall in August.

• The vintage is looking good in general, with average yields, thick skins, ripe tannins and very little rot.

• It is unlikely to be on par with the great vintages of 2005, 2009 and 2010, but it could be a very good vintage.


• Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are looking promising and the grapes were clean and healthy, with little rot.

• Yields are similar to 2014, but the wines will have a little less acidity.

• Expect pressure on pricing and availability due to the shortage of 2014 wines.


• In Chablis, hail at the end of summer impacted yields to a total of 10%. A dry summer also contributed to slightly lower volumes, but again not to a disastrous level. In areas that avoided the worst weather, quality is likely to be very good.

• It was an excellent vintage in Cote Chalonnais, although Pinot Noir yields are down by as much as 30%. This is the fifth vintage with a small Pinot Noir crop.

• A very good vintage in Beaujolais, but yields are down due to the dry summer. Beaujolais Village and Cru’s are down by as much as 40%, so expect pressure on price as a result.


• The Rhone Valley had a very good year – while the weather was hot (like the rest of France), this was offset by heavy rains in spring, which increased water reserves.

• Yields in the north are good and in the south about average. High temperatures were not unusual and grapes were generally harvested early, with excellent quality throughout the region.


• A rainy spring ensured good water reserves.

• This was followed by a dry, hot period, tempered by storms and cooler nights from late August.

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27th October 2015

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