French fruit growers and winemakers are warning that the majority of their harvest this year (“80 per cent to 90 per cent”) has been lost to this week’s frost.
10 Apr 2021 – “No region has been spared: beets, rape, barley, vines fruit trees,” the National Federation of Unions for Farmers (FNSEA) stressed.
All through the week, farmers across France had tried to save their harvest from the frost by lighting fires and candles.
In Drome and Ardeche, temperatures dropped to as low as -8°C during the nights this week.
Local winemakers and fruit growers reported that they had lost up about 90 per cent of their harvest.
Philippe Pellaton, President of the Inter-Rhone Association of winegrowers, estimates that about “80 per cent to 90 per cent” of the nearly 68,000 hectares making up this terroir have been lost to the frost. This year should see “the smallest harvest of the Côtes du Rhône in the last 40 years,” he warned.
“The winegrowers are devastated, downcast,” he went on.
Burgundy, which has 28,841 hectares of vines, fared no better.
“We have at least 50 per cent damage,” said Francois Labet, President of the Bureau interprofessionnel des vins de Bourgogne (BIVB).
The region’s prestigious Chablis is particularly hit with damage estimated at about “80 to 90 per cent” by Frédéric Gueguen of the office of the Federation of Defense of the Chablis appellation. “I fear that there are some farms that will not recover.”
Southern Burgundy also recorded -8°C temperatures.
“It is historic because of the intensity of the frost and the extent of the areas affected: no one was spared in Saône-et-Loire. It is exceptional,” said Thomas Canonier, wine consultant at Vinipôle Sud-Bourgogne.
Winemakers in the Bordeaux region — in the southwest — have also sounded the alarm.
According to the Bordeaux Wine Trade Council (CIVB), the frost has “hit hard” vast areas of the Bordeaux vineyards, with temperatures sometimes falling below -5°C.
In the Dordogne, “not a single farmer has been spared” in the vineyards of Bergerac and Duras (about 12,000 hectares), which includes the famous Monbazillac, Eric Chadourne, President of the Federation of local wines, emphasised. “It’s to varying degrees, it goes from 5 per cent to 100 per cent of the buds depending on the parcels,” he added.
The President of the national association of apples and pears also warned that “peaches, nectarines, apricots will be rare on the shelves this year” because of the recent cold temperatures.
Thanks to Ben Vorlich for this link