• Annina Francis

Frost - A disastrous wave that's taking over the whole of France

Vines affected by frost dammage

It arrived a spring evening in the middle of the month of April when the vines started turning a vibrant green and the young grapes started showing. Then all of a sudden this vivacity turns to a dull brown and it's the 2017 harvest that goes up in smoke.

It's the start of a crisis for the french winemakers with a significant reduction in French production. We estimate that there will be an increase in prices as a consequence of this climatic event. Sadly it's the misfortune of some, who will lose all their crop, that will make the happiness of others. This episode which is starting to take on a form of its own and brings about memories of 1991 risks having an impact even after this year's harvest.

The results vary depending on the region but what seems to be a certainty is that the whole of France is affected. We estimate a reduction in 10% for the production in the Languedoc and this adds to the mediocre harvest endured last year due to a real lack of water.

We also make note of a 100% loss of the Gewürztraminer and the Alsatian vineyards. It's on social media that we were really able to see the methods put in place to combat this episode, especially in Chablis.

In Tourraine 14 helicopters were mobilised to push hot air towards the vines in an effort to prevent future frost.

It was then the Bordeaux's turn to suffer from frost damage, going from 20% loss for the luckiest to 70% going on 100% for a few appellations. There was significant damage in Saint Emilion with more than 70% loss whereas other appellations weren't so affected.

The effects of this episode will be felt for a long time. Like a big cold wave that stops a fruit tree from ever bearing fruit again, this frost could affect the landscape for years to come. A few winemakers could not only loose this harvest but all those to come and in that case, agriculture which is already seeing a decline in producers could find itself in a dire situation with a drop in production and a significant increase in prices.

The future is still unclear for French winemakers and with an increasingly changing climate, the 2017 harvest seems more uncertain than ever.

#Frost #harvest #winemakers #Bordeaux #Chablis

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