All-time low expected for French wine harvest

Wednesday August 02 2017 by Vitisphere

- Photo credit : Syngenta

According to the first official estimates, France is expected to harvest 37.6 million hectolitres of wine in 2017, down 17% on last year and 16% on the latest five-year average. Described as "historically low", the crop is likely to be "lower than in 1991, which was also affected by severe frosts", said the Ministry of Agriculture.

None of France's vineyards were spared from the devastating effects of spring frosts with volumes expected to plummet by 57% in Jura, 51% in Bordeaux, 30% in Alsace and Cognac, 18% in South-West France, 10% in the South-East and 6% in Languedoc-Roussillon. In the latter two regions, crop reductions are also caused by shatter on Grenache vines. With adverse weather having already affected parts of France prior to 2017, some regions that have been less affected by frost this year than in 2016 are expecting production to rise. These include Champagne, which is hoping to harvest 8% more fruit this year, and the Loire Valley (+7%). Burgundy, that for once came out relatively unscathed after the frost, is aiming for a 14% rise in production.

Although harvest dates are likely to be early, the season is not over yet. A drop in water resources could have an impact on yields in regions like Alsace, Corsica, Languedoc and the South-East, and the risk of hail is never non-existent. At least the spread of vine diseases has been reined in due to beautiful weather over the summer.

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