French wine production set to rebound after frost-hit 2021
French wine production is set to rebound in 2022 after spring frosts last year lead to “historically low” output levels. But ongoing issues with drought could yet affect volumes, the country’s agriculture ministry has said.
Devastating spring frosts and heavy rainfall last summer wrought havoc with vines in France, leading the country’s agriculture ministry to predict one of the worst output levels in history at the time.
French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie described the frosts as “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”
The picture is a little rosier this year, with France’s agriculture ministry anticipating a rebound in production levels of between 13-21% (between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectolitres).
Despite hail storms and extreme temperatures seen in France in June and July, the majority of the nation has seen favourable weather conditions in comparison to last year.
“In these conditions, production is trending towards an increase compared with last year in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes,” the ministry said.
“However, soil drought combined with heatwaves could limit this increase if they persist until harvesting.”
While the dry, warm weather reduced the risk of diseased vines and is expected to lead to an earlier grape harvest, drought is affecting grapes in the Alsace region and Languedoc-Roussillon. It may also curb production levels in Burgundy, the ministry said.
Production in Bordeaux is expected to fall below the five-year average as a result of frost and hail damage.
But there is positive news from Champagne, where a good harvest is anticipated with levels above the five-year average, according to the ministry.
As hail storms and drought present an ongoing challenge to French winegrowers, the Agriculture Ministry has unveiled a set of measures aimed at helping winemakers and growers affected by the erratic weather conditions.
Marc Fesneau, Minister of Agriculture and Food announced the new measures on 3 August at a press conference.
“These seven recommendations, resulting from field analysis, provide immediate and concrete responses both to support farmers affected by spring hailstorms and also to improve the resilience of our agriculture”, he said.
“[They] complement the structuring projects initiated by the Government, such as the reform of crop insurance or the France 2030 plan, with €2.8 billion to support and develop the solutions of tomorrow, in particular to better prepare us for climatic hazards.”