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French wine harvest one of smallest for 30 years

France has seen one of its smallest wine harvest for three decades due to bad weather in many parts of the country, but Bordeaux is bucking the trend, officials said this week.

A maelstrom of frost, hail, rot and even fires gave many French winemakers a growing season to remember for all the wrong reasons.

It means that France’s 2016 wine harvest is set to go down as among the smallest for 30 years, officials at the ministry of agriculture said this week.

Total grape haul expected to produce 43.2m hectolitres of wine – still enough for around 5.76 billion bottles of wine, but 10% down on 2015 and 6% lower than France’s five-year average.

Some have raised fresh fears of a looming global wine shortage following bad weather affecting harvests in several countries in 2016. Argentina and Chile both suffered at the hands of El Niño.

But, as ever, such general comments hide a mixed picture.

In France, Burgundy faced its worst frost since 1981 with some growers losing more than 90% of their 2016 crop. But other vineyards in the region survived relatively unscathed. Champagne and Loire Valley also suffered from frost damage.

Bordeaux is the area sitting pretty at this point. Production is set to rise by 7% versus 2015 and harvesting took place under ‘excellent conditions’, officials said.

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