French wine’s rebound threatened by drought

Wine production in France has been forecasted to rebound this year following the frost-hit 2021 harvest but the ministry of Agriculture and Food has warned that worsening drought could curb volumes.

In the ministry’s first projection for 2022, wine production is expected to rise by 13-21% to between 42.6 million and 45.6 million hectolitres, 7% above the five-year average.

Last year, a brutal spring frost led to the worst wine harvest for the country in 45 years, but most wine-growing regions have experienced favourable conditions in 2022 with the exception of the southwest which was hit by violent hailstorms in June.

"In these conditions, production is trending towards an increase compared with last year in all wine regions, with the exception of Charentes," the report said.

"However, soil drought combined with heatwaves could limit this increase if they persist until harvesting."

The country has just experienced its driest July since 1959, pushing some younger vines to their limit and some producers have received special dispensation to water their plants past the 1 May irrigation cut-off.