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France expects wine production to rebound from frost-hit 2021 despite drought

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Wine production in France this year is expected to recover from frost-hit production in 2021, although increasing drought could curb volumes, France’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

Wine production is expected to increase by 13-21% to between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectoliters, the ministry predicted in its initial 2022 outlook.

One hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 liters or 133 standard wine bottles.

In fact, the forecast range is above the five-year average at 7%, it said.

Most areas had more favorable weather than last year for the vines to bloom, except in parts of the southwest that were hit by frost and hail, the ministry said.

“Under these conditions, production in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes, tends to increase compared to last year,” said a report.

“However, soil drought combined with heat waves could limit this increase if they persist until harvest.”

The French agricultural sector, the largest in the European Union, fears mounting losses from the country’s worst drought ever, fueled by successive heat waves.

Dry, warm weather this year had reduced disease pressure on the vines and would also lead to an early start to the grape harvest, the ministry said.

The drought nevertheless affected grapes in regions such as Alsace in the east and Languedoc-Roussillon in the far south-west, while harvesting potential in Burgundy started to curb.

Production in Bordeaux would fall below the five-year average after frost and hail damaged some 10,000 hectares of varying degrees, the ministry added.

The Champagne region was poised for a good harvest with production above the five-year average, helped by rainfall in June and limited wine disease, it said.

(REUTERS)

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