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France set for a good wine year despite mildew

Production projected to overtake Italy and Spain to regain top global spot

Wine production has remained stable in France while its neighbours have suffered more from drought and mildew (Pictured: Epernay) Pic: Daan Kloeg | Shutterstock

2023 is on track to be a good year in terms of volume for the French wine harvest, according to reports from the French Ministry of Agriculture. 

Or rather, it may simply be a normal year for the French harvest and a poor year for the Italian and Spanish harvests. Regardless, France may soon regain its place as the world’s top wine producing nation, leapfrogging both of its Latin neighbours.

Poor harvests in Spain and Italy

Spanish wine production has been hampered by the extremely hot summer and drought-like conditions, which have led to an early harvest. However, the Spanish OIVE wine trade body is keen to point out that the quality of the wine could still be high despite a 12% decrease in production for the world’s third wine producing country.

Coldiretti, the Italian wine association, expects 2023 to be one of the worst years for a century, in large part due to mildew. Italy has been the world's top wine producing nation since 2014, when it overtook France. However, this year they are bracing for a 14% decrease in production to 43 million hectolitres.

Champagne looking good

While France has shared its part of the problems of both Italy and Spain, with mildew in vineyards of Bordeaux and drought in Occitanie, the overall outlook is good. 

French production is expected to be between 44 and 47 million hectolitres exceeding that of 2018 to 2022, claims the Ministry of Agriculture. 

Indeed, the harvest for Champagne, Loire, Corsica, Cognac, Jura and Provence should be particularly bountiful.

These figures are still projections, however, and caution should temper any optimism they may inspire since poor weather before the harvest in the form of a cold snap, storms or hail could yet change things.

Related articles:

‘Never seen such damage’: Mildew hits vines in French wine region 

Harvest fears as damaging mildew fungus hits French vineyards 

Winemakers face new problems each year due to climate change in France

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