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French wine production is expected to drop from 24% to 30% in 2021 and be at a “historically low” level in cause of spring frost and summer late mildew attacks, the Ministry of Agriculture said.
Earlier we reported that almost all of the French wine-growing areas had suffered several consecutive nights of frost in the first half of April, when the vines had already started to bud due to a mild winter. Farmers had tried to save their vines with braziers, candles, or other techniques, often in vain. The “biggest agronomic disaster of the beginning of the century”, announced the French Minister of Agriculture.
To make things worse, the wine harvest was also affected by vine diseases such as powdery mildew and mildew, favoured by the rainy summer weather. It compiles between 32.6 million and 35.6 million hectolitres, according to the statistics service of the ministry, Agreste. This is in line with the estimates put forward in April by the wine industry. “Wine production in 2021 is forecast to be historically low, lower than those of 1991 and 2017, also affected by a severe frost in spring,” notes Agreste. “For now, the yield would be close to that of 1977, the year when the wine harvest was reduced by a destructive frost and summer precipitation,” it added.
The vagaries of the weather have revived discussions on the overhaul of crop insurance, considered more and more urgent in the face of the multiplication of extreme weather phenomena. A reform will be presented “at the start of the school year”, recently indicated the Ministry of Agriculture. The April frosts followed a period of great mildness that favoured the budding of crops, and the question of a possible link with climate change was quickly raised. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced in the wake of the freeze a cumulative total of one billion euros in aid for affected winegrowers. For scientists at the international World Weather Attribution network, there is little doubt that the likelihood of a late frost has been significantly increased by climate change and will be even more so in the future.
Second wine producing country in the world after Italy and leading exporting country, France intends to defend its market shares despite this drop in production in 2021. Especially since in 2020, its wine was not very well sold due to health restrictions linked to the pandemic, but also American surcharges decided by Donald Trump (they were suspended in June for five years by the administration of Joe Biden).
“The wine can be stored. The previous harvests will allow us to respond to our customers. We will be able to support our markets”, underlines Jérôme Despey, a winegrower in the Hérault.
Based on the materials of larvf.com