Lower Champagne yields bring down French crop estimates

Wednesday October 14 2020 by Vitisphere

 As a consequence of an early vintage, by “the end of September, the bulk of the crop had been harvested and only a minority of late-ripening areas were left”, said the Ministry of Agriculture. As a consequence of an early vintage, by “the end of September, the bulk of the crop had been harvested and only a minority of late-ripening areas were left”, said the Ministry of Agriculture. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

On 1 October 2020, the French wine harvest was estimated at 44.1 million hectolitres according to the latest report by the Statistics and Forecasting Services (SSP). Having revised its previous forecast of 45 million hl downwards at the beginning of September, the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that the reduction is due to the drop in yields decided by the Champagne wine marketing board last August.

In Champagne, some of the fruit was not harvested in a bid to limit volumes above the maximum appellation cap. This has lead national crop estimates to be revised downwards since the last forecast”, summarised the SSP. The department has therefore gone from an agronomic forecast of 2.6 million hl to 1.9 million hl in a month due to “partial harvesting of grapes in Champagne”.

The overall drop in the nationwide forecast is also due to declining yields in Bordeaux and Cognac as a “consequence of the worsening of surface drought conditions in September”, specified the report. However, rainfall in September seems to have ultimately increased yields in the vineyards of Charente, where production of spirits is expected to be higher than last year.

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