France is facing one of its poorest wine grape harvests in four decades due to a cold and rainy northern spring and severe hail storms. The 2013 harvest is expected to reach just 43.5 millions hectolitres, well below the 10-year average of 45.4 million, according to forecasts by the FranceAgriMer public agricultural service. Left: Harvesting grapes in Bordeaux
This means the 2013 harvest will be one of the worst in 40 years and only a slight improvement on last year’s record low harvest of 41.4 million, according to Jerome Despey, head of FranceAgriMer’s viticulture section. He said cool temperatures and excessive rains contributed to a particularly poor harvest, while some vineyard owners in famed wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy had their harvests nearly wiped out by severe hail storms.
Despey added that according to early tests sugar content would be low too. “Sugar hasn’t developed in the grapes and we’ll have much lower (alcohol) levels than in previous years,” he said.
Forecasts released by the agriculture ministry earlier this month, before devastating storms hit Bordeaux, had already indicated that France would experience one of the smallest harvests in 40 years in 2013.