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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

30 to 60% crop loss due to frost in the Rhône Valley and southern vineyards

26.04.2021, News
No wine-growing area has been spared by frost. In Hérault or Gard, the damage is estimated at 35%, with peaks of 70% in Saint-Chinian or Pic-Saint-Loup. Provence, Aude, the Pyrénées Orientales, and Corsica can also expect a small harvest.

“Winemakers whom I have always seen optimistic and at the head of wineries that are doing well are wondering whether they should continue. They are discouraged”, worries Jacques Rousseau, head of wine services at the Institut Coopératif du Vin.

60% of production lost to Cairanne or Gigondas

While waiting to see how the vines will start growing again in the coming weeks, the ICV indicates that between 30 and 35% of the buds have roasted in Ardèche. In the north of the Rhône Valley, more than 60% of the production is lost in Condrieu, or in Côte-Rôtie. Same thing has happened further south towards Cairanne or Gigondas.
At the Domaine de la Présidente, in Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes, Simon Gauthier toured the 137 hectares of vines. “It was Viognier that suffered the most. Fortunately, it does not constitute a large proportion of our grape variety. Grenache is doing fairly well, unlike Syrah which has held up rather well.”
Overall, the technical manager estimates that 30% of the buds are destroyed. The Domaine de la Présidente pays 35,000 € per year to insure its vines against hail, nothing against frost. “We bet on the wrong horse, regrets Simon Gauthier, who wants to reassure his customers. Our 2019 and 2020 stocks and the share that we usually sell wholesale will allow us to supply everyone.”

Damage greater than 2019 in Provence

In Provence, Jacques Rousseau believes that the damage will be slightly higher than in 2019. “For the moment, the winegrowers are not too panic-stricken, but we must remain cautious. We do not know how the buds that were in the process of budding experienced -6 or even -7 ° C, as in Luc.” From the Camargue to the Cévennes, all the Gard is affected. 60% of the buds would have roasted in the north of Costières-de-Nîmes.
Jacques Rousseau made the same observation as the technicians of the Hérault Chamber of Agriculture, with a very large majority of the plots affected, to varying degrees. “In Florensac, I saw a lot of plots with 40 to 60% of the brown buds. In the Béziers some are 100% shaved, especially in the basins and low points, while in the hillsides the air has circulated better. The Orb Valley has also suffered greatly.” 60 to 80% of the plots are affected in Saint-Chinian. In Pic-Saint-Loup, the cellar of Saint-Mathieu-de-Tréviers would have lost 70% of its future harvest.
Aude suffered from both cold episodes. 35 to 40% of the buds would be destroyed there. Concerning the Pyrénées-Orientales, the damage is very variable. In Corsica, the vineyards of Figari, Sartène, and Ajaccio also suffered damage.
At the scale of the greater region, Jacques Rousseau is worried about the future harvest of Сhardonnay, Viognier, Colombard, and Cabernet Sauvignon in precocious areas.
Prepared by Oleksandra Hryhorieva for the materials of vitisphere.com