Summer 2018 boosts Wine Harvests in France as compared to the huge dip in production last year 2017 being smitten by frost and hail
Things have finally put a smile on French wine makers as the crop yield returned to a normal after a harsh loss in 2017. The harvest now rebounded to a good figure of 25% overall, while the Agriculture ministry estimated around 46,1 million hectoliters production even after the frost and hail had dropped the production to 36,8 million hectoliters in 2017.The deficit of last year’s harvest in trio countries France, Italy and Spain led to a noticeable global dip in wine production. Harvests have already begun across France to a certain extent in several regions mainly such as Champagne, Alsace and the Loire for particularly white grapes and those used for production of sparkling wines. Burgundy and Beaujolais had abundant flowering and generous bunches which led to a three week early harvest than usual. In comparison with the rest of the Europe France has experienced a long, hot season resulting in a disease-free harvest without the troubles of frost and hail. This now according to local reports promises a good, high quality crops, so don’t be surprised to see the 2018 vintage being sold at a premium high.
Is 2018 a good year for French Wines?
It was not entirely a safe sail for French wines as a widespread of France had heavy rainfall in the month of June that led to outbreaks of mildew and coulure (viticulture hazard) but with the arrival of good weather and quick treatments all this was put to a halt. Yet, parts in South-West had partial rains that continued throughout the summer and the outcome of which is yet unknown. Well the picking continues as the months pass by but what we can expect is surely a great year for wines and an elevated demand for French wines on the export market. If you are in France at this period be sure to participate in the Grape harvest and wine festivals.
Will there be spikes in Wine Prices?
With the production in France having dipped by 18%, a prediction by research firm Nielsen claims that the prices of French wines would increase to 5% right from the supermarkets. Mildew has played a huge role here, being often present in the Atlantic coast mainly in Bordeaux which created some black rots but this year the vineyards in the Mediterranean faced a rains and storms that triggered high temperatures. Considering all these factors there will surely be an increase in the price but even though there could be less quantity of bottles produced, the quality of the wine produced is all that matters.
What are the wine maker’s opinions about the 2018 harvest?
Overall the harvest in France has been positive, as many French Wine critics declared 2018 as a good vintage year. Sébastien Vaillant, a wine maker from the Loire Valley, told France Bleu radio that he expected “a very good vintage, with silkier and softer tannins”. Due to the high levels of rain during spring, wine-growing regions in France had no drought. But hailstorms that hit vineyards in the month pf May had left a threat of mould, particularly for the organic winegrowers who restrain the use pesticides but the recent heat wave helped fight off the mould completely. One of the biggest issues faced by wine makers was obtaining laborers due to the early harvest that created a huge enquiry with the service providing “Vendages” that recorded 200 enquiries in comparison with 2017. Early season this year meant that the harvest had to take place with many workers and other people still on holidays or finishing other summer work. As a result, several wine makers found it very difficult to recruit or call on their seasonal workers in time and were running short of employees. One winemaker, Jean-Luc Galliath who spoke to French newspaper Le Monde - admitted that he was beginning “to stress” over the harvest situation.
What is the impact of the climat on the harvest in France?
Climate change has really started to be a reality especially affecting agricultural based industries and wine being the pinnacle of it. Wine makers across France are working towards tackling climate change but organic winemakers seem to be posed with more threat than the rest, having no control over the harvesting or the cultivation of the grapes. It is a challenge for everyone in this industry and things are to only get worse unless every individual and wine/viticulture governing bodies work together to come up with a solution to deal with upcoming climate issues. As for wine lovers like you and me we can only hope for the best but yet support winemakers by buying their wines and appreciating their efforts. Hopefully, we all do not live to see a day where there is no more wine for consumption.