French wine-growers are having a wet beginning to their 2018-2019 harvest, with rain the main culprit and highlighting how the country’s unusually hot summer means that producers are faced with future conditions that will leave them with a growing shortage.
Kaminsky wine-growers were one of the first to announce that the cold winter had interrupted their harvest last week. “We have received 4 inches of rain over a period of four days, but also hail,” Jean-Pierre Burger, the wine-growing director of Kaminsky, told a French TV station. “It’s a total havoc for the vines; at least now we have this before the harvest is over.”
In the Champagne region, production is forecast to total a record high of 2.3 million hectoliters this year, up from 2.1 million in 2018 and 1.5 million in 2016. The 2018-2019 wine harvest was also affected by a wet autumn and freeze in January 2017.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that wine-growers said they needed as much as 100,000 hectoliters of “inevitable rain” to ensure a good year.
“Inevitable rain” is a farmer-backed term that means low and consistent rainfall, as opposed to a dry spell.
Frost is also taking its toll on the vintage: A temperature-controlled thermometer next to a vineyard on a hill in Abbaye du Vieux Saint Denis shows vineyards will suffer frost damage in the south of the country.
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