Frost could cut Bordeaux harvest by 50%

BORDEAUX, FRANCE: Bordeaux vineyards in southwestern France could lose about half of their harvest this year after two nights of frost damaged the crop at the end of April, a wine industry official said on Saturday.

Wines from the Cognac, Bergerac and Lot-et-Garonne regions had also been affected, said Bernard Farges, head of the Syndicat des vins Bordeaux et Bordeaux Superieur.

“For Bordeaux wines … we estimate that the impact will be a loss of about 50%, depend on how many buds can regrow,” he said.

Including lost earnings at wine industry subcontrators, the total damage is estimated at €1-2 billion (US$1.1 billion to $2.2 billion), with wine production set to fall by about 350 million bottles.

Frost damage varied widely depending on the precise area, with some owners expected to lose only 15% to 30% of their grape harvest, but others at risk of seeing their entire production wiped out.

Growers have resorted to using candles, heaters and even the down-draught from helicopters to try to save crops.

France’s total wine output fell 10% last year due to adverse weather conditions. Champagne was the worst hit, with the harvest down more than 20% on the previous year due to spring frosts followed by other problems such as mildew.