French wine production set to tumble by 18 per cent this year

According to the French government

Wine production in France is set to fall by 18 per cent this year after spring frost damaged vines across the country, the French government said today.

“The 2017 wine harvest is expected to be 37.2m hectolitres, which is 18 per cent less than 2016 and 17 percent below the average over the past five years,” the French agriculture ministry said.

The ministry added that the fall in in production is ‘mainly attributable to the severe spring frost that affected all the wine-growing regions to varying degrees at a sensitive time for the vine.’

Wine expert Gilbert Winfield told Sky News that bottles from affected regions would ‘inevitably’ become more expensive.

In 2016, the sector had already suffered one of the poorest harvests in 30 years.

In April, this year the country was stuck with bitter cold weather twice within a week and meant frosts ravaged fragile shoots and buds that had emerged prematurely after the country experienced mild temperatures in March.

To combat the frost winemakers in Bordeaux set fires to oil drums, positioning them carefully between the rows of budding grapevines and used giant fans to battle the cold, damp air settling on the plants.

The announcement comes after Jerome Despey, the head of a governmental wine advisory board, said last week he expected a 40 per cent drop in output from Bordeaux, France’s largest wine growing region, and a 30 per cent fall output in Alsace, which produces mainly white wines, after it was also hard hit.

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