Every year, the board decides how much Champagne growers can potentially produce by placing a cap on authorised yields. For this year’s harvest, the maximum output allowed for sale is 10,500 kg/hectare, a 4.5 percent drop on 2012. Harvesting is not likely to begin until the end of September due to a fairly cold and wet winter and spring. This delayed the growth cycle by around two weeks, bringing this year’s harvest back in line with normal picking dates. Until weather conditions improved last month, vine growth progressed extremely slowly. Despite this, excellent weather during flowering led to prospects of a good crop. Whereas at other times, the news would have been welcomed in Champagne, this year the economic climate has forced the industry to rein in production. Marketable output would still be relatively high, though, at 305 million bottles compared with sales of 108 million bottles during the first half of this year. Sales to France and Europe have slumped due to the state of the economy so producing over 300 million bottles is ambitious. However the Champagne marketing board believes that strong growth should continue to be fuelled by markets outside Europe. In order to respond to potential growth in the future and to replenish inventories depleted due to a short crop in 2012, wine growers will be allowed to produce 3,100 kg more than the maximum marketable yield per hectare.