France's winegrowers have historically poor harvests

Released on 07.10. 2021

  • Historically poor yields are emerging for France’s winemakers. The wine growers in Alsace on the border with Baden-Württemberg are hit by 12 percent lower earnings prospects comparatively mild. Photo: Marijan Murat

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Frost in spring, then pest infestation due to too much moisture in summer and finally dry periods – it does not look good for the wine harvest in France.

Paris (dpa) – For France’s winegrowers, the current harvest shows historically poor yields after a frost period in spring.

As the Ministry of Agriculture announced in Paris on Thursday, this could be 25 percent lower than in the previous year and by 22 percent lower than the average of the past five years.

With expected 34, 4 million hectoliters would be the harvest at the level of 1977 and would therefore be even worse than the harvests, which were also affected by frost 1991 and 2017, it said. Moisture in summer also favored the pest infestation of the vines, at the same time dry periods made the winegrowers in the Mediterranean area to create. France is the second most important wine-producing country after Italy.

All wine-growing regions are affected by the drop in yields, but to different degrees. For the Bourgogne-Beaujolais region 38 percent lower yields are expected, in the Loire Valley minus 38 percent, for the Bordeaux winemakers minus 25 percent and in Champagne 28 percent less. The wine growers in Alsace on the border with Baden-Württemberg are hit by 12 percent lower yield prospects comparatively mild.

The poor harvest prospects are not the only concern of the French winemakers. There are delivery delays and rising prices for bottles, wine boxes and cartons, reported suppliers on the Vitisphere industry platform. Recruiting harvest workers is also going to be more difficult this year than usual, and skilled workers are difficult to find. For example, an agricultural college had to postpone the training course to become a viticulture tractor driver due to a lack of candidates.

Meanwhile, the French Viticulture Institute has devoted a recently presented study to the orientation of viticulture in the face of climate change. One of the recommendations is that winemakers adapt their production and water use based on better regional climate data. It is also advised to cultivate more climate-resistant vines and to take steps to make viticulture as climate-neutral as possible.

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