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August 2021

Wine production

French wine production set to hit its lowest level in 44 years

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.


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Wine production

French wine production is set to fall by 30%

A confluence of meteorological misfortunes is hurting the wine harvest in France. First, there were severe frosts in the spring, which laid the groundwork for disaster by damaging 30% of the production. Then, torrential summer rains hit western Europe in July, leaving parts of Germany and Belgium ravaged by flooding, and causing fungal attacks on grapes and their leaves in France.

All of this has prepared France for a 24-30% drop in wine supply this year, the lowest production since 1970, France’s agriculture ministry said on Friday, as Reuters reported.

For champagne, the harvest potential has been halved, some producers have warned.

In Italy, high temperatures in the south caused an early harvest, while heavy rains in the north caused a late harvest, according to the Coldiretti Farmers’ Association, the world’s largest wine producer. Production is expected to drop by 5-10%.

Highlighting the rise in sea levels in Italy, the infiltration of salt water inland, the burning crops in the fields and the devastating droughts, Coldiretti said in a statement Monday that he was raising a ” alarm occasion “based on the landmark report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Monday. He said there is no scientific doubt that humans are fueling climate change.

Agriculture, we read in Coldiretti’s press release, is the economic activity that suffers the most from the consequences of climate change on a daily basis, but it is also the sector most committed to combating them.

The winegrowers had warned of this plunge. Earlier in the year, the winemakers took drastic measures to protect their vines: renting helicopters to push hot air towards the ground or lighting candles around the vineyards.

But efforts have failed to avoid the effects of extreme weather conditions, which are worsening as climate change progresses.

These weather-induced production headaches are hitting harder on an industry already grappling with the negative effects of the pandemic and US tariffs.

Published Friday, the first national overview of wine production in France predicted 2021 production to be between 32.6 and 35.6 million hectoliters. That’s 24-30% less than last year – with one hectolitre equivalent to around 133 bottles of standard wine.

“Wine production in 2021 is expected to be historically low, lower than the levels of 1991 and 2017 which were also affected by severe frosts in the spring,” the French agriculture ministry said in the report cited by Reuters.

Jérôme Despey, producer and head of the wine committee of the agricultural agency FranceAgriMer, told Reuters it was time for a slight recovery, as the grapes were at least 10 days to two weeks behind the growth rate of Last year.

As for prices, champagne producers say adjusting supply with stocks from previous seasons will prevent a spike, Reuters reported. Usually, champagne houses keep a reserve of production from past years to use in the event of a drop in supply or an increase in demand.

“Wine producers are facing major challenges this year,” Despey said. “The lost production will never be compensated by market prices. “


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French wine production could be lowest in at least 40 years, if ever

As if we don’t have enough worries in 2021 – a pandemic, a climate crisis, inflation – wine lovers have just heard horrible news: this year will probably be one of the worst – otherwise the worst – year for wine production in the history of France.

“For now, it seems that the yield will be comparable to that of 1977, when the harvest of vines was reduced by both destructive frosts and summer showers,” the French Ministry of Agriculture announced on Friday. according to AFP. At the very least, the ministry would have estimated that this year would be worse than the last two years of poor harvests – 1991 and 2017 – with total production expected to drop 24 to 30 percent from last year, placing the 2021 vintage at “historically low”. “levels.

The bad news is not necessarily a surprise: April’s frost is said to affect up to 80% of vineyards in wine regions across the county, with damage estimated at around $ 2 billion. At the time, the French Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie described the event as “probably the greatest agricultural disaster of the beginning of the 21st century”.

damaged grape buds

Raymon Rogi / AFP / Getty Images A photo taken on April 13, 2021 shows grape buds damaged by frost the previous week in Estagel, near Perpignan, in southern France.

Despite the widespread devastation, some grape varieties have been more affected than others. For example, in Burgundy, winemakers said the damage was worse for Chardonnay, which buds earlier than Pinot Noir, according to Decanter. Elsewhere in the country, Merlot has also apparently been hit hard.

Still, the ministry reportedly added a reminder that these data were still preliminary as the harvest season is far from over, and also stressed that the assessment is based on quantity and not quality.

And whatever the case, all is not lost: even in the lowest range of production estimated for 2021, France will still produce the equivalent of more than 4.3 billion bottles of wine. So there is still plenty of wine to shop around, but it remains to be seen if prices will rise.


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Wine production

In France, forecasts of a historic fall in wine production

France’s agriculture ministry said on August 6 that the country’s wine production this year could drop to an all-time low, with a drop of up to 30%. “Wine production in 2021 is expected to be historically low, lower than the levels of 1991 and 2017 which were also affected by severe frosts in the spring,” the ministry said in a report.

“Yields are expected to be close to those of 1977, a year when the harvest was reduced by frost and damaging summer rainfall.”

An “agricultural disaster”

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie described the freeze as “probably the biggest agricultural disaster of the beginning of the 21st century”. In April, several frosty nights caused the most damage in decades to crops and vines across France. Heavy summer rains also favored the growth of late blight.

According to the ministry, the overall production of French wine should be between 32.6 and 35.6 million hectoliters (3.26 to 3.56 billion liters). The grapes are around 10 days to two weeks behind last year’s growth rate, giving some growers hope that there may still be time to recover slightly.

Experts believe that climate change has greatly increased the chances of such events happening again. A study by the World Weather Attribution, an international organization that analyzes extreme weather events, reported that warmer climates increased the likelihood of an extreme frost coinciding with a growing season by 60%.

France is not alone in its gloomy wine forecasts. In Italy, the world’s largest wine producer, the Coldiretti farmers’ association is also forecasting a 5-10% drop in production this year. High temperatures led the harvest to start a week earlier in the south, while heavy rains stunted grape growth in the north, according to Coldiretti.

What about the prices?

Champagne prices, at least, are unlikely to rise, thanks to its producers’ long-standing practice of adjusting supply with stocks from previous seasons. However, the impact on the wider wine market could also depend on further restrictions on coronaviruses.

“Wine growers are facing major difficulties this year,” said Jérôme Despey, producer and head of the wine committee at the agricultural agency FranceAgriMer. “The lost production will never be compensated by market prices.”

fb / rs (AFP, Reuters)


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