FRENCH HARVEST SET FOR INCREASE
FROM FLOODING to freezing temps, Mother Nature has not been kind to France’s wine industry for the last few years. But the country is currently on course for a normal-sized grape harvest, although continued poor weather could yet jeopardize this year’s crop, according to the country’s agriculture ministry. In its first harvest report of 2O13, the ministry currently expects the crop to yield about 46.6m hectolitres, up 13% on last year’s disastrous crop which was the smallest since the early 197Os. However, it also warns that unusual weather patterns are creating huge uncertainty this year. Most French wine regions were two to three weeks behind schedule, with flowering starting in Champagne thanks to the abnormally cool and wet spring weather. In Beaujolais, there were early reports of mildew in the north, as well as instances of filage and the heightened risk of coulure and millerandage. Parts of the Loire Valley have been badly affected by hailstorms, most notably Vouvray, with Saumur impacted by frost, but the crop is forecast to be down only 1% on the five-year average. Bordeaux and the South-West have mainly recovered from spring floods, despite the risk of mildew and coulure. And in Languedoc-Roussillon, flowering has been affected by spells of heavy rain, while there have been localized instances of mildew, and Grenache in particular is facing a high risk of coulure.