Exceptional frost damage to vineyards in France this month could reduce wine production by nearly a third, farm office FranceAgriMer reported Thursday, April 22, 2021, citing estimates from fruit growers and winemakers. Much of the harvest has been lost to the significant cold snap that spread through parts of Europe from April 7 to April 9, 2021.
The losses were projected at around 15 million hectoliters, which would put France on course for 2021 output between 28 and 32 percent below average volumes of past years.
"This [frost] was something exceptional, both in the fact it spread so far south and that it was so widespread," Ygor Gibelind of FranceAgriMer told reporters, adding that damage was worsened by a preceding unusually warm weather.
The worst affected wine regions included Burgundy, with average losses initially at around 50 percent, Languedoc at 40 percent, and Aquitaine at roughly 30 percent. Fruit orchards and sugar beet fields also suffered extensive damage.
The government has pledged around 1 billion euros to help the agricultural sector. Wine producers will also be given access to a disaster fund to compensate up to 40 percent of losses not covered by insurance.
Gibelind, citing wine producers, said potential economic losses from the frost damage are at 1.5 to 2 billion euros. This year's potential production losses could leave this year's output at about 32 million hectoliters, which is below a 2017 weather-hit crop of around 36 million hectoliters.
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