HOT SUMMER BOOSTS FRENCH HARVEST

The 2018 harvest in France looks set to herald a return to normal after some tough losses last year, with volumes projected to rebound 25% overall.

The French agricultural ministry has estimated that the 2018 harvest will be some 25% bigger than that of 2017, back up to around 46.1 million hectolitres (in line with the recent average) after frost and hail dropped production to 36.8m hl in 2017.

Last year, the shortfall in France, Italy and Spain (being the biggest trio of wine producing countries in the world) led to one of the smallest collective crops on record and a noticeable global dip in wine production.

Harvests this year have already begun to greater or lesser extents in many regions such as Champagne, Alsace and the Loire – principally for white grapes and those meant for sparkling production.

As with the rest of Europe, France has enjoyed a long, hot and, as a result, largely disease-free growing season and also one generally untroubled by frost or hail.

This has contributed greatly to the early commencement of the harvests but also to a healthy and, according to most initial reports, good, high quality crops.

It has not been entirely plain sailing however. France saw widespread rainfall in June which led to isolated outbreaks of mildew.

In places, swift treatment and the coming of good weather put a halt to this but in parts of the south-west patchy rainfall continued throughout the summer although how this will affect the crop volume or quality is not yet known.

More reporting on the harvests throughout Europe and elsewhere will follow as bulletins are issued and picking continues.

30th August, 2018 by Rupert Millar, the drink business

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