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France anticipates low yields

Just when it looked as though France might be able to capitalise on Australia’s recent low-yielding vintage, the Ministre de l’Agriculture has revised its original yield estimate following poor weather.

At a time when the EU is looking to solve the European wine glut problem, it appears that the rain is doing the job already with overall production expected to be under 50 million hectolitres of wine. Ironically, the last time yields were so low was in 2003, a year characterised by heatwaves.
But French producers cannot blame it all on the weather as, according to the agriculture ministry, the drop in Vin de Table production (expected to be 23% this year) is mostly due to an ongoing grubbing-up programme in the South of France. Meanwhile, appellation wine production is forecast to fall by approximately 2% this vintage.
Heavy rain this summer has led to fears of oidium and other forms of rot in Bordeaux, with some vineyards in the Southern Graves losing up to 90% of their crops. Problems have also been reported in Beaujolais, the Loire and the Rhône valley. Meanwhile, in Champagne, The Syndicat Général des Vignerons (SGV) has predicted that average yields for 2007 will be down by around 3,000kg per hectare, compared to last year.

Fionnuala Synnott, 15/08/07

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