Bordeaux winemakers cheer heatwave: 'It's magic!'

Bordeaux (AFP) –


The heatwave that is roasting parts of Europe is more than welcome in the French region of Bordeaux, where wine producers say a sudden intense burst of sun after a wet spring could produce a superior vintage.

"Two of three days of heatwave in Bordeaux at this time, it's magic!" Philippe Bardet, head of the Bordeaux Wine Council, told AFP.

Temperatures are expected to rise past 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) this week in the Bordeaux region, helping to burn off any of the mildew caused by residual damp, which is "very, very good for quality", Bardet said.

A long dry summer last year also helped salvage grapes threatened by mildew, producing an excellent "millesime" or vintage.

Bernard Farges, head of the federation of Bordeaux wine appellations, which represents 4,500 producers, noted that the vine "is a Mediterranean plant, it likes heat."

Thanks to the unusually high temperatures, workers who are getting ready for the post-summer harvest by trellising the vine and topping the shoots have to start before dawn to beat the heat.

"People are used to be it," said Frederic Faux, head of the agriculture section at the CGT trade union in the Bordeaux area. "We're used to that in agriculture."