Frost Impacts for the French Wine Regions
With devastation from the frosts, it’s expensive for the vineyards. While some prices may stay the same, for those that have a favorite French wine, it may be time to stock up while the price is right before the frost impacts and other trauma catches up.
Here’s a look at the wine regions of France and what to expect:
Pomerol, Barsac, Saint-Emilion, Graves, Sauternes, and parts of Entre-deux-Mers took a hard hit at 30%. The vineyards found near the estuary and rivers in Blaye, Bourg, and Médoc were somewhat lucky, though with minimal impact. This market is predicted to rise in volume while prices remain the same for now, except the top-tier wines.
The Loire endured the suffering of frost from 2016, 2017, and 2019. Now in 2021, it’s the same story. The prices of wine from this region for retail are down, but don’t expect that to last. Once US restaurants are back to being fully open from coast to coast, that will all change.
It is estimated that the 2021 frost hit 30% to 40% of the vineyards in this region. Sadly, this comes on the heels of previous vintages suffering weather damages from heavy rain, hail, and frost. The impacts on prices for Rhône wines remain to be seen.
Those growing Chardonnay in the Champagne region endured a hit though it seems it may be less of a critical hit than what happened in 2017. Because this region retains older stock to blend with, the US won’t likely feel the impact though prices will depend on how things move along as restrictions from COVID lift.
The vineyards on the Mediterranean coast of Provence were extremely lucky though the rest of the region suffered dramatic damages from black frost. Grenache vines may provide a second growing season to mitigate the trauma.
Sadly, Burgundy endured massive damage. In Chablis, as many as 80% of the vineyards were impacted. In Pouilly-Fuissé it was nearly 90%. Chardonnay suffered in the southern portion, with vineyards in the Mâcon and Lyon areas affected at 30%. The Aligoté vines had the best survival rate, though, and the good news for Chardonnay growers is that their older vintage stock may come to the rescue.
About half the Beaujolais region incurred damages from the 2021 frost. The effect was far less in the mountainous cru regions, though typically bottled wine may be favored in the US market these days.
The time to get them is now for those who love French wines before the prices rise due to this cluster of factors. Undoubtedly, the frost of 2021 didn’t help, but the other impacts that taunt these treasured wine regions will all take their toll, making the beloved wines of France fetch a heftier price tag in the not-too-distant future.
To learn more consider taking an online sommelier course with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG).
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