A rotten turnout for the French harvests in 2013, with just 43.2 million hl produced

Tuesday November 12 2013 by Kelsie Adams

With a reported harvest of 43.2 million hectolitres, the 2013 vintage has scraped in just above all-time smallest harvest of 2012 (41.2 million hl). Even though the two harvests seem to have a lot in common (lateness, millerandage, hail...) the most recent evalutation from the Ministry of Agriculture would lead you to believe that the French vineyards only needed locusts to have been hit by all 10 of the Egyptian plagues in 2013. It must be said that since springtime, this vintage has been doomed, « despite the initial abundance of bunches » the « rains and [the] cool weather during the flowering season brought about leaking and millerandage », then « various summer hailstorms » managed to eat away at any potential production. Then to finish it off « rain during the harvests led to a late enlargement of the berries and to the unusual development of botrytis ».

Grey rot developed extensively on on the chardonnay grapes of Burgundy, the trebbiano grapes of Charentes and more generally across the vineyards of Alsace, Anjou, Ardèche, Beaujolais, Central Loire and the South-West (Bordeaux included...) This trend caused Agreste to lower the volume of the French harvest by a further 1.8 million hl (the estimate one month ago was for 44 million hl). However, three regions are bucking this trend : Champagne, which was spared the grey rot (2.8 million hl predicted for 2013, +43% on 2012), Languedoc-Roussillon, where there was a good vintage (13.5 million hl, +13% on 2012) and Corisca, whose red grape varieties have just ripened (321 000 hl, +5% on 2012).

On 1st November, the Ministry of Agriculture predicted that, in 2013, France would produce 19.1 million hl of AOC wines (-3% on 2012), 12.1 million hl of IGP wines (+8%), 7.4 million hl of wine-based spirits (-2%) and 2.7 million hl of other wines (+36%). Click here to read the full report from the Office of Statistics and Forecasting (Service de la Statistique et de la Prospective, SSP).





[Photo: a bunch of grapes rotten with botrytis : IFV]


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