How France’s drought is affecting the country’s wine production – Robb Report

After going through a Dijon mustard crisis earlier this year, France could soon face a dwindling supply of vino.

Wine yields look fragile as scorching heat waves continue to parch the French countryside. Production in France was actually expected to rebound this year after a frost-induced decline in 2021, but the prolonged drought could now dampen volumes, Reuters reports.

The country’s agriculture ministry initially predicted Gallic wine production would increase by 13-21% to between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectolitres. For the uninitiated, one hectoliter is about 22 gallons (100 liters) or 133 standard bottles of wine. Indeed, many regions experienced milder weather this year than last year for the flowering of the vines, with the exception of certain parts of the south-west which were hit by frost and hail.

“Under these conditions, production tends to increase compared to last year in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes,” the ministry said in a report. “However, dry soils combined with heat waves could limit this increase if they persist until harvest.”

A Bordeaux winemaker shows bunches of grapes burned by the heat wave and the drought.

Getty

Although dry and hot weather this year reduced disease pressure on vines and boosted an early harvest, the worst drought on record in the country affected grapes in regions such as Alsace in the east and Languedoc-Roussillon in the extreme south-west. It has also started to impact harvest potential in Burgundy, according to the ministry.

Production in Bordeaux is also expected to fall below the five-year average after the harsh winter damaged around 10,000 hectares of vines, the ministry added. Conversely, Champagne is expecting a good harvest, with an estimated production higher than the five-year average. The final yield depends on the drought, of course.

Despite all the misfortune and sadness, the drought may have a reluctant winner: salt producers in the Guérande region are heading for record production, as Reuters reports. The so-called “white gold” is sold in the United States for over $100 per kilo (2.2 pounds).

Maybe there is a silver (or white) heat lining.

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