harvest - the latest for a decade - is expected to be 30% down on 2007, a year also characterised by low volumes.
The vintage started this week amid finer weather and favourably dry winds after a stop-start situation over the previous 10 days.
Rhône oenologist Olivier Roustang told OLN from Condrieu on Monday: "There was a lot of rain in the spring
and during the summer wind, storms and hail affected some areas badly. Condrieu, the Côte Rôtie and Crozes-Hermitage have all had more rain than usual."
Roustang said that, in addition to low volumes, producers have had to foot the bill for treatments to combat vineyard disease and extra labour to spray vineyards. It's also a difficult year for organic viticulture.
Roustang added: "You need to sort and select in the vineyard because of botrytis and after picking as well. " He concluded that buyers would need to "taste a lot" to pick out the best wines from this "heterogeneous" vintage.
In Bordeaux poor weather also means a late vintage, though better weather over the
past three weeks has rescued the situation to some degree. The harvest has started in some areas. Simon Staples, sales director for Berry Bros & Rudd, said: "The 2008 vintage is likely to be small and it might not be one of the greatest vintages - probably on a par with 2007." He called for careful pricing on the wines following the high pricing of the 2007 vintage
in relation to quality
and in view of the economic situation.