Provence Wine Region Damaged by the Worst Fire in Nearly 20 Years
For the past several years, devastating wildfires have become frustratingly (to say the least) commonplace in California's wine country — including 2020 when two of the largest wildfires on record struck prominent wine regions like Sonoma and Napa. But Californian vineyards aren't the only ones susceptible to wildfires, and a number of wineries in France were recently hit by likely the worst fires the French wine industry has seen in over a decade during what has already been one of the most difficult growing seasons ever faced.
The fire is believed to have started last Monday in Var, an area along France's southeastern coast within the larger Provence region, known for its rosé wines. Dry conditions along with strong winds spread the fire throughout the week, leaving substantial damage in its wake. Yesterday, the BBC reported that the CIVP, Provence's wine association, was still assessing the overall impact, but late last week, the National Federation of Agricultural Workers' Unions (FNSEA) pegged the number of properties affected — though not necessarily damaged — at 73 wineries and five cooperatives. Decanter suggested the fires were the most extensive since 2003, 1979, and 1950.
Jeany Cronk — who cofounded Maison Mirabeau with her husband, Stephen — took to Instagram to show the contrast of scorched earth and surviving vines on her own estate. "We're very lucky to have this view of our battered and charred farm," she wrote. "The remains of the smoldering outbuildings tell their tale of how violent and close it was. The vines are partially impacted and there will likely be no harvest time for those that made it."
However, Stephen told the BBC that some of their neighbors weren't so lucky. "There are three vineyards close to us which have been completely destroyed; it's truly devastating," he was quoted as saying. He also stressed just how hard of a year it's already been in France. "Personally, it's heartbreaking. We've been hit by two 'once-in-a-generation' frosts, and now comes the worst forest fire in decades."