If you love wine like we do at Barterhouse, you have probably already heard that France is about to face a historic fall in wine production. Though the vineyards have experienced a historic weather event that is definitely going to affect their ability to produce the delicious French selections that we all know and love, it is not time to worry yet! No matter what, Barterhouse will keep you in the loop and keep you filled with quality wines no matter what is going on at the vineyards. .
With frosts that hit the vineyards late into the spring and a plethora of rain in the summer, The French Agriculture Ministry said recently, “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 vineyards expect a 30% decrease in production this year. In fact, “Yields are expected to be close to those of 1977, a year when the harvest was cut by damaging frost and summer rainfall.”
Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie described the frost as “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.” During April, there were several nights of frost that truly decimated the crop, despite the farmers’ best attempts to save the grapes. Farmers lit giant wax candles in the vineyard rows to stave off the frost and the snow, but the tactic did not work. Then after all of the frost damage, the many summer storms brought so much rain that created mildew growth on the valuable grapes. The one “bright spot” is that the grapes are around 10 days-2 weeks behind the normal harvest time, so they may have some time to recover.
President Emmanuel Macron feels the pain of the farmers who tried so hard: “To you, farmers who, throughout France, have fought tirelessly, night after night, to protect the fruits of your labor, I want to give you our full support in this fight. “Hold on tight! We are by your side and will remain so.”
So what is happening? Many scientists believe that global warming is to blame. And they warn that it is not a one-time deal. “A study by the World Weather Attribution, an international organization that analyzes extreme weather events, reported that warmer climates had raised the probability of an extreme frost coinciding with a growing period by 60%.”
And although you may have heard the hype about all of the French vineyards in ruins, Alsace, the Cognac region, and parts of Champagne were all relatively unscathed by the unseasonably cold weather. So all is not lost. And it is truly a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Italy did not suffer such a great loss this year. They are not up to their usual because of weather but are only projecting a 5-10% drop in grape output.
The frost and rain are not the only problems vineyards are facing. The pandemic has slowed sales around the globe, especially to restaurants. And vineyards are still reeling from late 2019, when “Trump hit French wine with a retaliatory 25 percent import duty, a cost increase that the New York Times says contributed to a 14 percent drop in French wine exports in 2020.” Although the United States under Biden last month struck a deal with the EU to suspend the tariffs for four months, the effects are still felt.
“Wine producers are facing major difficulties this year,” said Jerome Despey, a producer and head of the wine committee at farming agency FranceAgriMer. “The lost production will never be made up for by market prices.”
It is still too soon to tell if prices will rise immediately based on the bad weather, but odds are that something has to give if vineyards are losing up to 30% of their grapes. You are in luck, though, if your drink of choice is champagne. Champagne producers say “their longstanding practice of adjusting supply with stocks from previous seasons will prevent any spike in prices of the sparkling wine.”
While you wait for the wine world to figure itself out, try the fruity crisp taste of one of our favorite white Burgundy wines around the globe. Domaine Du Mas Tines, Bourgogne Blanc will leave you with a crisp, refreshing citrus and a cleansed palate. For those Bordeaux lovers, try the raspberry, peppery taste of Château Brande Bergère Cuvée O’Byrne with its balanced tannins and lingering finish.Do not worry about the swirling news about the wine world. At Barterhouse, we are fully transparent as we keep you up to date with the best deals on the crème de la crème of French wine. Barterhouse has come to save the day. Not only will we be transparent with your wine news, but we will still be able to bring you the quality and value that you have come to expect.