Third Of French Wine Worth €2 Billion Lost To Rare Freezing Weather

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 16 Apr 2021 10:44
Third Of French Wine Worth €2 Billion Lost To Rare Freezing WeatherPA Images

Fellow wineos might want to look away because a third of French wine worth €2 billion has been lost due to rare weather conditions.

Unprecedented, freezing temperatures have devastated many vines and crops across the country in what’s being described as an ‘agricultural catastrophe’.


France has been subject to a rollercoaster of different temperatures in recent months; from early, warm weather causing vines and fruit trees to blossom earlier than usual, to cold snaps then causing them to die.

This has resulted in an expected loss of €2 billion (£1.7 billion) in sales for the French wine industry this year.

PA Images

French agriculture minister Julien Denormandie has dubbed the ordeal as ‘probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century’, The Guardian reports.


The national federation of agricultural holders’ unions believe a least of third of the country’s wine production has been affected with harvests in some of France’s best known wine regions such as Champagne, Bordeaux, and The Loire Valley, having been destroyed.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has since expressed his support for the country’s farmers who have be affected by the devastating weather conditions.

He tweeted last week along with a picture of a candlelit vineyard: 


To you, farmers who, throughout France, have fought relentlessly, night after night, to protect the fruits of your labour, I want to tell you our full support in this fight. Hold on tight ! We are by your side and will remain so.

Michel-Henri Ratte set alarms through several nights to wake himself up to go light candles across his fields in a bid to defeat the frost. Sadly his efforts were in vain as the frost still damaged the vines. While he usually produces over 30,000 bottles of wine annually, he’s concerned he might not even be able to make one this year.

Ratte explained to The Guardian, ‘We’d bought huge candles – like big paint pots of full of wax – and we placed them between the vines and ran out to light them at 2am. There were still some green shoots but then the snow came. It was catastrophic.’


He continued:

Currently, we’re looking at 100% loss on this year’s harvest. We’ll know in a month if anything has survived. We live close to nature, we’re used to dealing with changing weather, but we were damaged by cold snaps in 2017 and 2019.

For it to be happening every two years, and for weather to be going swiftly from very hot to very cold, raises questions about climate change. It wasn’t normal cold, it was a polar cold, much more intense than usual.

Kiwi, apricot, apple and other fruit’s crops have also been affected by France’s cold snap.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, France, Wine, World News


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Third of French wine lost after rare cold snaps devastate vines