Perverse weather conditions, such as the late frost that destroyed much of France’s wine crop in its early stages this spring, along with drought conditions over the summer, have combined to hammer the wine sector unusually hard. Output was down by 19 percent from 2016.
Many experts have attributed the weather troubles to climate change. However, climate change is not the only challenge.
Jérôme Agostini, director of the CNIV, an umbrella group for the various professions in the French wine industry, said: “It’s not just a problem of climate change but also of bacteria diseases affecting the wood of the vines and insects destroying the plants.”
The CNIV is now working with France’s public agricultural authority FranceAgriMer and the Ministry of Agriculture on a plan to combat the decline that’s been gathering pace over several decades.
Currently at the research stage, the project will receive €10.5 million in investment over the course of three years between 2017 and 2020.
Georges Haushalter, Bordeaux trader and president of the Economic Commission of the Interprofessional Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB), has spoken of widespread anxiety through the French wine industry and the threat of bankruptcy for a number of vineyards, particularly in Burgundy. “The situation is critical, but not tragic,” he told l’Express.
Vineyard owners and the rest of the industry are now focussed on 2018, which promises to be a make or break year for French wine production.