At least a third of French wine production worth almost €2bn (£1.7bn) in sales will be lost this year after rare freezing temperatures devastated many vines and fruit crops across France, raising concerns over the climate crisis.
“This is probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century,” the French agriculture minister, Julien Denormandie, said this week as the government declared an “agricultural disaster” and began preparing emergency financial measures.
The unseasonal wave of bitter frost and ice hit suddenly after a bout of warm weather, which worsened the damage. The warmth had encouraged vines and fruit trees to develop earlier than usual, only to be withered by the sudden cold.
The national federation of agricultural holders’ unions told AFP it believes at least a third of French wine production would be lost as certain grape harvests in many of France’s best-known wine-producing regions risked being decimated.