Champagne Makers Are Popping Their Corks Over a Summer Bonanza

September 13, 2018, 12:09 PM UTC

Summertime and the drinking is easy.

If you like champagne, that is. Beer lovers are in their cups over this summer’s barley-killing heatwave. But the sweltering summer has boosted wine production, including in the champagne-producing regions of France, reports NPR.

The Champagne-growing region of France produced almost 300 million bottles in 2017. Industry sources predict an additional 10 million bottles, or 3.33% this year.

“What I’m hearing around me, even from people older than 80 years, is that this is the best harvest they’ve ever had,” Moet Hennessy CEO Philippe Schaus told NPR.

The winter was unusually wet, setting records, followed by an unusually hot summer, so the industry began harvesting in August—earlier than most years, though an increasingly common phenomena. The champagne industry group writes that the grape juice, called must, that it’s harvested so far “is an excellent omen for the future cuvées.”

In France and elsewhere, winemakers are considering how they can adapt their centuries-old practices to new climates. Grapes champagne are grown in the northerly region of Champagne, but winemakers further south may soon be seeing too much heat for their own good. It may be time to breed new strains–and accept new flavors.