In the spring of this year, France experienced devastating frosts in its wine regions. As a result, the world’s second-largest wine producer (after Italy) should experience historically low production this harvest season.
“For now, it looks like the yield will be comparable to that of 1977, a year when the harvest of vines was reduced by both destructive frost and summer downpours,” the Agriculture Ministry said, according to France 24.
Sudden cold fronts in April spread over French wine regions, threatening young grape buds early in their growth cycle. Well-known regions like Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley are “likely to experience a drop in production of between 24 and 30%”, predicts the ministry.
Apart from frost, heavy summer rains and mildew are also factors of the expected drop in production. More than 32.6 hectoliters (861 gallons) will likely be lost.
Other fruits grown by farmers in these areas have also been severely affected. Apricot production is at its worst year in nearly four decades, according to the ministry.
“[It’s] probably the biggest agricultural disaster of the beginning of the 21st century, ”said Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie.