Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/18 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/18 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/18 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/14 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/18 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/18 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/14 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/18 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

Extreme weather slashes French wine output by a fifth

media Bordeaux could see a major drop in production. Getty Images / Jens Hauspurg

France's wine production is expected to plummet 18 percent this year after spring frost damaged vines across the country, the government said on Friday. But a hot summer is expected to yield a top vintage.

"The 2017 wine harvest is expected to be 37.2 million hectolitres, which is 18 percent less than 2016 and 17 percent below the average over the past five years," the agriculture ministry said, echoing warnings from winemakers.

Jerome Despey, the head of a governmental wine advisory board, announced last week he expected a 40 per cent drop in output in the prime wine-growing region of Bordeaux, the country's largest.

In 2016, the sector had already suffered one of the poorest harvests in 30 years.

The new drop in production is "mainly attributable to the severe spring frost that affected all the wine-growing regions to varying degrees at a sensitive time for the vine," the agriculture ministry said.

The bitter cold struck twice within a week in April, ravaging the fragile shoots and buds that had emerged prematurely following mild temperatures in March.

To combat the frost, nervous winemakers in Bordeaux set fires in oil drums, then positioned them carefully between the rows of budding grapevines. Giant fans were also deployed to battle the cold, damp air settling on the plants.

Alsace, which produces mainly white wines, was also hit hard.

Output there is expected to fall by 30 per cent, said Despey, who is also secretary general of France's biggest farmers union, the FNSEA.
   
Mini-igloos
   
The Loire valley also suffered, while in the south an exceptionally dry summer accelerated maturation but resulted in smaller grapes that are expected to yield a memorable vintage.

Winemakers in parts of the southeast have begun harvesting the grapes, about two weeks earlier than usual.

Some losses are also anticipated in the Burgundy region, where the grapes have been repeatedly hit by hail in recent years.

In the five years to 2016, hail knocked out as much as 50 percent of Burgundy's harvest, according to the Global Wine Risk Index.

A variety of strategies have been used to try to limit frost damage.

Wind machines are also used to keep frost from setting in, while water sprinklers allow a fine coating of ice to form on vines that act as mini-igloos and keep them from freezing through.

 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.