In the spring of this year, France experienced devastating frosts across its wine regions. As a result, the world’s second-largest wine producer (after Italy) is set to see historically low output this harvest season.
“For now, it looks like the yield will be comparable to that of 1977, a year when the vine harvest was reduced by both destructive frost and summer downpours,” the agriculture ministry said, according to France 24.
Sudden cold fronts in April stretched across France’s vineyard regions threatening young grape buds in the early stages of their growing cycle. Well-known areas like Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley are “likely to see a drop in production between 24 to 30 percent,” the ministry predicts.
Frost aside, heavy summer rains and mildew are also factors in the expected production decrease. Over 32.6 hectoliters (861 gallons) will likely be lost.
Other fruits grown by farmers in these regions were also badly hit. According to the ministry, apricot production is at its worst year in nearly four decades.
“[It’s] probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century,” Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said.