May 15, 2022

Spring frosts cause a “historic” drop in wine and apricot production in France

Heaps of burnt hay, candles, wind turbines … In the spring, French farmers struggled for several nights against cold waves attacking their crops at critical stages of their development. The consequences of these frosts, studied by Agreste, the statistical service of the Ministry of Agriculture, confirm the concerns of wine growers and arborists.

French wine production is expected to drop 24% to 30% in one year, and reach a level “Historically low”, Agreste announces, in a report published on August 6. The April frost also seriously affected French fruit trees, in particular apricots, whose 2021 harvest should be halved, compared to the 2016-2020 average, again according to Agreste estimates, established in 1is August. This would be the worst harvest in forty-two years.

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A “half-harvest” of apricots

The quantity of wine produced for the year 2021 would be between 32.6 million and 35.6 million hectoliters, according to the ministry. A recolt “Historically low forecast, lower than those of 1991 and 2017 also affected by a severe frost in spring”, notes the ministry.

“For now, the yield would be close to that of 1977, the year when the wine harvest was reduced by a destructive frost and summer precipitation”, he continues. The drop in production between 1977 and 2021 is also the consequence of a regular reduction in wine-growing areas between these two dates, the report says. The grape harvest is also likely to be affected by vine diseases, such as powdery mildew and mildew, favored by the rainy summer weather.

Regarding apricots, 2021 production is estimated at 56,000 tonnes, down 35% over one year and 54% compared to the five-year average, which refers to agriculture. The Rhône valley and Provence were particularly affected by the frosts. According to the ministry, the national turnover of the sector could “Move back by a third”.

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Le Monde with AFP and AP