Smiles and a storm in the Rhône


Official reports from the Rhône Valley are rather smug. In essence, 'we know the rest of France has been suffering but we have very little vine disease, no drought to speak of and, unlike other French wine regions, we're expecting quite an early harvest'.

The end of the winter was particularly cold so bud break came late and was very uneven. Then a rainy spring encouraged good canopy development so that even the hot, dry weather in July and August stressed vines only in a few isolated pockets.

A useful band of rain crossed the region at the end...