After severe spring frosts devastated vines and heavy summer rains led to mildew, France’s wine output in 2021 will be one of the worst in history, if not the worst, said the agriculture ministry.
France is likely to see its production drop between 24 and 30 percent in 2021, reported AFP. It is already certain to fall below output seen in 1991 and 2017, the two most recent years of disastrous harvests amputated by bouts of late frost.
“For now, it looks like the yield will be comparable to that of 1977, a year when the the vine harvest was reduced by both destructive frost and summer downpours,” the ministry said.
Several nights of frost in early April caused some of the most damage in decades to crops and vines across the country, including its best-known and prestigious wine-producing regions from Bordeaux to Burgundy and the Rhone valley to Champagne. Overall output was also affected by an onslaught of mildew prompted by heavy summer rains.
Growers of kiwis, apricots, apples and other fruit have also been badly hit along with farmers of other crops such as beet and rapeseed. Apricot production is headed for its worst year in more than four decades, the ministry said.
Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie has called the frost attack “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”
France is the world’s second-largest wine producer after Italy.
As wine regions across the globe continue to struggle with drought, wildfires, and other disasters due to climate change, winemakers are looking to vineyards thriving in the barren Negev desert for guidance. Winemakers there are overcoming challenging terroir and producing world-class wines while doing so.
Scientists have recently suggested that up to 85% of land in wine-growing regions could no longer be viable due to the effects of climate change.