France expects rebound in wine production but drought threatens

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PARIS, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Wine production in France is expected to rebound this year from the 2021 frost, although worsening drought could dampen volumes, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

Wine production is expected to increase by 13 to 21 percent to between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectoliters, the ministry forecast in its first outlook for 2022.

A hectolitre is equivalent to 100 litres, or 133 standard wine bottles.

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The forecast range is even 7% above the five-year average, he said.

Most regions experienced more favorable weather conditions than last year for flowering vines, except for parts of the southwest which were hit by frost and hail, the ministry said.

“Under these conditions, production tends to increase compared to last year in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes,” he says in a report.

A vineyard is pictured early in the morning outside Chablis, France, April 3, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

“However, dry soils combined with heat waves could limit this increase if they persist until harvest.”

France’s agricultural sector, the largest in the European Union, fears mounting losses due to the worst drought on record in the country, fueled by successive heat waves. Read more

Dry and hot weather this year has reduced disease pressure on the vines and should also lead to an early start to the harvest, the ministry said.

The drought was nonetheless affecting grapes in regions such as Alsace in the east and Languedoc-Roussillon in the far southwest, while starting to dampen harvest potential in Burgundy, he said.

Production in Bordeaux is expected to fall below the five-year average after frost and hail damaged around 10,000 hectares to varying degrees, the ministry added.

The Champagne region is expected to experience a good harvest with production above the five-year average, helped by rainfall in June and limited vine disease, he said.

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Reporting by Gus Trompiz; edited by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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