8 August, 2021
Oenophiles will be heartbroken to learn that the world’s second-largest wine-producing country is expected to slash production by as much as 30% this year due to spring frosts and summer downpours caused disease in grapes.
“Wine production in 2021 is forecast to be historically weak, below levels in 1991 and 2017 that were also affected by severe frost in spring,” the French farm ministry said in a report.
“Yields are expected to be close to those of 1977, a year when the harvest was cut by damaging frost and summer rainfall.”
The 2021 wine outlook produced by the ministry said output would be between 32.6 million and 35.6 million hectolitres, 24-30% less than last year.
For some context, a hectolitre is around 100 liters or about 133 wine bottles.
Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie described the weather anomalies that impact crops this year as the “greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”
The weather catastrophe in France is widespread and has affected all wine-producing regions. In Champagne, cold weather destroyed 30% of buds.
French wine prices aren’t expected to surge because of producers’ tradition of balancing supply with stocks from previous seasons.
However, if impacts continue into the next growing season – supply woes may develop, which would then be reflected in higher prices.