France’s 2013 Grape Harvest

Grape Harvest
Grape Harvest
By now it is an established fact that across France the wine production of the 2013 will be a small one.
The reason is the year’s weather conditions: the difficult spring, the wet early summer that triggered the so called shatter (or coulure that means that the berries do not develop after flowering) for the Merlot grape variety in Aquitaine and the Grenache variety in the south of France and – probably the most important – the devastating hail storms of late July and early August.
According to Jerome Despey, president of the Wine Council of FranceAgriMer, the France’s total harvest can be the lowest in 40 years with an estimated wine production of 43.5 million hectoliters as opposed to the average 45.4M.
Despey adds that early tests also showed the berries’ low sugar content: “Sugar hasn’t developed in the grapes and we’ll have much lower (alcohol) levels than in previous years”.(
For Bordeaux region alone the meteorological conditions have reduced the crop by around 20% in comparison with the 2012 or the smallest crop since 1991 according to Conseil Interprofessionel des Vins de Bordeaux (or CIVB: the committee that represents nearly 10,000 Bordeaux wine producers and growers, and 400 wine merchants).
The hail storms of the 26th-27th of July night and of August 2nd were especially calamitous. According to the experts, nearly 23,000 hectares of wineries have been affected more than 30 % with more than 4700 ha displaying more than 80 % damage. (source:
The “vendange” or the grape picking is also unusually delayed. In Pessac Léognan area – the Bordeaux region that starts usually the first the harvesting of the white grapes – the work will not get underway until the middle of September.
This is a change from the lately established trend to harvest early because of global warming:”We find patterns of the 1980s and 1970s. This year harvest date is the earliest since 1988″ says Eric Perrin, owner of Château Carbonnieux, of Pessac Léognan. (source:

In terms of of revenue the loss is calculated at € 156 million , just for the wine, with the hail damages that will extend in the next year: on the areas affected by more than 80 % the loss of harvest of 2014 expected at 30%.

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