French Wine Production Set to Recover from Disastrous 2021

The first report from the French farm ministry was relatively rosy compared to last year’s frost-plagued growing season.

Vineyard in Bordeaux, France
Photo: Justin Paget / Getty Images

Last year's wine growing season in France was one of the most challenging on record. Late frost caused damage across the majority of French vineyards – a climate catastrophe that, even on its own, would have led to one of the worst harvests in decades. And then, adding insult to injury, summer wildfires exacerbated the issue in some regions.

This year got off to an equally shaky start with parts of the country once again being hit with a late — but thankfully less destructive — frost in the first week of April. Luckily, problems have eased from there, and despite the ongoing threat of drought across much of France, officials expect wine production will be relatively back to normal for 2022.

Citing data released this week by the French farm ministry, Reuters reported that wine production is expected to increase by 13 to 21 percent this year compared to last, with the volume projection estimated to be between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectoliters. These numbers are said to be even to, or potentially as much as seven percent above, the five-year average. However, the ministry did apparently stress that this was the first outlook of the year and that other factors could potentially affect final production numbers, including an ongoing drought.

"In these conditions, production is trending towards an increase compared with last year in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes," the report was quoted as saying. "However, soil drought combined with heatwaves could limit this increase if they persist until harvesting."

Along those lines, the predictions weren't as rosy for some specific regions — including two of France's biggest labels. For Bordeaux, the ministry reportedly stated that the early frost did enough damage that production would likely be below the five-year average. And in the equally coveted Burgundy region, drought appeared to already be limiting the size of this year's harvest.

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