Extreme weather – including frost, drought and hail – has been blamed for a predicted fall in French wine output of 12% in 2019.
The agriculture ministry predicts that output across the country will fall by an average of 12% with some areas such as Burgundy and Champagne suffering even greater falls in production.
The full gamut of weather extremes has been thrown at French farmers this year; spring frosts followed by summer heatwaves caused widespread damage to vines and grapes, while hail and wildfires have affected crops too slashing overall production to 43.4 million hectolitres, down from 49.4 million hectolitres last year.
The ministry added that this year’s estimated harvest puts it at four percent below the average production over the past five years.
Some areas have been particularly badly hit with Burgundy and Beaujolais thought to be down 26% and Champagne said to be down 17% year-on-year. Bordeaux, meanwhile, will see output down by around four percent.
‘What we are seeing, as the meteorologists have said we would, is extreme climactic events,’ Inter Beaujolais vice president David Ratignier told Decanter.com.
‘There is no middle ground anymore. Never just one storm or only rain. We had three major hailstorms on 18 August plus one or two smaller ones and plenty of rain. The heat is extreme. We had temperatures of over 40 degrees this summer. And drought this year and last year. That’s not what you would call normal weather,’ he added.
The situation could have been worse, claims the agriculture ministry, with many areas ‘saved’ by early August rains which limited losses following the Europe-wide heatwave in late June and July.