Frost damage could reduce French wine production by a third
PARIS (Reuters) – Frost damage to French vineyards this month could reduce wine production by nearly a third compared to recent years, the FranceAgriMer farm office said on Thursday, citing early estimates wine producers.
The losses, subject to revision as the impact of the frost becomes clearer in the coming weeks, were projected at around 15 million hectoliters and would put France on the right track for 2021 wine production between 28 % and 32% under the average volumes of recent years, Ygor Gibelind The wine unit of FranceAgriMer told reporters.
One hectolitre equals 100 liters, or about 133 standard bottles of wine.
“This (frost) was something exceptional, both in the fact that it spread so far south and was so widespread,” Gibelind said, adding that the damage had been exacerbated by a previous heat wave that had accelerated plant growth.
The most affected wine regions are Burgundy, with average losses initially estimated at around 50%, Languedoc at 40% and Aquitaine which includes Bordeaux at around 30%, added Gibelind.
Vineyards were among the farmland ravaged by severe frosts two weeks ago, with fruit orchards and sugar beet fields also suffering significant damage.
The government has pledged around € 1 billion in aid to agriculture, including giving winegrowers access to a disaster fund to offset up to 40% of losses not covered by insurance.
Wine producers cited potential economic losses from frost damage at € 1.5-2 billion, Gibelind said, broadly in line with figures previously cited by the industry.
Potential production losses could leave this year’s production at around 32 million hectoliters, potentially below a weather-affected 2017 harvest of around 36 million hectoliters, he said.