The 2021 harvest at Domaine Bichot / Photo by Baptiste Beauvais and Domaine Albert Bichot
The 2021 Burgundy vintage will be remembered as a highly challenging year for winegrowers and producers, with ramifications that will ripple from wine trade to consumers.
Historically low yields in 2021 were triggered by catastrophic spring frost and compounded by a cold, wet growing season. According to the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB), up to 30–50% of Burgundy’s yield was lost regionwide in 2021. White grape varieties from the Côte de Beaune were hit especially hard, suffering an 80% loss of yield.
Despite severe losses in production volume, many winemakers remain optimistic about the quality of wines they will produce. Combined with surging global demand for Burgundy wines, challenges posed by the lingering pandemic, labor shortages and universal supply chain and shipping issues are likely to increase prices and present supply shortages.
“Very clearly… this has been a really difficult year,” says Brice de La Morandière, the managing director of Domaine Leflaive, a family-operated winery in Puligny-Montrachet. “It feels like a return to the bad old days of the ‘70s, with really cold weather, lots of humidity and lots of pressure from disease [in the vineyard].”