How excellent this is!

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.

It was only weeks ago that the same French vintners were bemoaning the fall in consumption which had led to a collapse of prices.

Self-solving problems are, well, self-solving.

28 thoughts on “How excellent this is!”

  1. “rare freezing temperatures…raising concerns over the climate crisis”

    I don’t know the statistics but this will be the sort of thing occurs on average every “X” number of years. Every single time it’s happened in the past it will have been “one of those things that happens every so often”. This occurrence, though, will be because of the “climate crisis”

  2. And there was me thinking the Climate Crisis would give the Orkneys a wine industry to compare with France’s. Was I misled?

  3. @Andrew C. No. This is so much more than this. FFS, frost and bad weather used to be the norm in Bordeaux and Burgundy 40 years ago. The gradual warming trend has led to a massive decline in these types of frosts and we’ve not had a bad claret vintage since probably 2002. The last truly awful year was 1993. Contrast with the 1970s, which was pretty uniformly bad (1978 and 1976 were OK, but around the same standard as 2002 and 2003, both considered to be fairly iffy by modern standards). Back to the 60s, there were two good years 1964 and 1966 and once great year 1961. The 1980s were better, but far worse than today. To claim that frost is a sign of a climate crisis is total nonsense. At least as far as French wine has been concerned the years of “global warming” have been halcyon days.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    Ken – Frost is only one factor and even then it will have an effect on the size of the vintage rather than the quality so many other aspects of the growing and harvesting season will make the vintage a success or not.

    Even then, wine-making technology has improved considerably since the 1960s so vagaries in the production process (like temperature controlled stainless steel vats which make the chai look positively indutrial)have all but disappeared.


  5. @TMB, yes tech has improved a lot – thus the run of sub-par noughties vintages were all fairly drinkable. And yes, frost is only one aspect of the weather – too much rain over the summer means bad wine – 1965 and 1968. But the fact remains that the rise in temps has been a boon for French wine and to claim that this return to what we used to get is a sign of the “climate crisis” is nonsense on stilts.

  6. “Wine consumption has been _reducing_ in neverending lockdown?”

    One is not going out to a restaurant and ordering an expensive French wine, one is eating meatloaf at home and drinking plonk, possibly because one is now unemployed.

  7. Isn’t this one of those time-honoured clichés? Farmers moan of poor harvests because it means the harvest will be more valuable

  8. BIS,

    “And there was me thinking the Climate Crisis would give the Orkneys a wine industry to compare with France’s. Was I misled?”

    This is one of my climate bullshit tests. Like, why are politicians buying lakeside houses, or has the price of houses in the Seychelles fallen. If temperatures are rising, that should mean areas disappearing out of production, because it’s too dry, or that new northern areas are established because it’s now warmer.

    And forget English wine. The press talk it up as this big future thing, but it’s mostly a vanity business – people who made their money in the city buying a bit of Sussex and pouring their money into it. It’s like Arabs sinking their millions into racehorses.

    Nyetimber is as expensive as Champagne, and no better, and hasn’t made a profit in 13 years. And that’s compared to Champagne, which is already overpriced compared to Aus and NZ fizz. And if you think bad years are bad in France, they’re nothing on England. There have been years like 2012, which were almost a total loss. Not enough sun and the berries don’t ripen. It makes no sense compared to setting up in Romania or Chile.

  9. ‘Mons. Santa Macaron has bunged them a couple of hundred million…’

    Maybe they should offer it to the Chinese, since they’ve decided to dump Aussie wine.

  10. @BoM4.

    English wine is an indicator that it has gotten warmer and that tech is better. It’s not at the level of even average Burgundy or Bordeaux, but it’s drinkable. And Nyetimber NV is no better than good Prosecco, and certainly not at the standard of good vintage champagnes, quaffable though.

    Interestingly the paper that Tim linked to a week or so back about the impact of global warming on agricultural TFP (which found a decline of 20%) actually does not measure the impact of a gradual steady rise in temperature, which is probably responsible for a rise in wine TFP (the methodology used would include this in the country fixed effect).

  11. The ‘warming’ is between 0,65C and 1,1C over 100 years, and that from the ‘Global Mean Temperature Anomaly’ junk science because they cannot show warming by direct temperature measurement because it it so small.

    And with a range of error like that, in effect it means nobody knows how much warming there has been beyond some and not much, nor can they demonstrate how much of this slight warming is natural and how much caused by Man. Plus, there is no one climate, so any temperature increase would not occur to the same degree everywhere or at the same time.

    And as someone who lives in France, I can attest that the weather this Winter has been mild compared with some other years – confirmed by my electricity bill. As we go into Spring temperatures are typical.

    The climate ‘crisis’ is from the same stable as the CoVid ‘crisis’… unreliable computer modelling, exaggerated, alarmist predictions by disreputable high priests of science, incompetent politicians, and vested interests.

  12. Farmers whining about the weather again. From what I read some varietals e,g, Chardonnay are badly hit, others e.g. Pinot noir hardly at all. Crappy vineyards in Languedoc are hit badly but posh vines near the Gironde not much.
    It’s a very mixed picture but the total loss will probably be less than 20%, possibly less than 10% if you take into account areas not affected at all.
    These days every minor setback is a disaster, of course.

  13. BoM4: And yet it’s still being planted. Down the A12 towards Colchester, going down the hill into Dedham Vale there is a field of vines planted last year. I guess it will be a couple of years before they can start harvesting.

  14. I am indifferent. We boycott French and German products because of the behaviour of the EU over Brexit. Using the threat of renewing Irish terrorism was the last bloody straw. At that point anyone who supported the bastards wasn’t a remainer, he was a quisling.

  15. Philip,

    From what I understand the posh producers of Bordeaux haven’t suffered so much because of the estuary/Sea breezes, and they’re mostly all along the left bank. Gascony has had it bad, though.

    Also, better producers are going to spend more on mitigation (spraying, fires, propellors) to protect their vines. If you are selling wine that costs more than printer ink, it’s worth spending money keeping it alive.

  16. “These days every minor setback is a disaster, of course”
    And as such worthy of a nice govt handout/subsidy, French farmers will try it on at the best of times, obviously they couldn’t find a Covid angle so went for the next best crisis right now

  17. At what point of disastrousness do the growers who have lost this year’s grape production decide to single plough the channels between the vines, plant parsnips or spuds, and make vodka. Which the French do remarkably well imv.

  18. TMB

    the posh producers of Bordeaux… they’re mostly all along the left bank.

    Haut Medoc. A number Some Poms (and St Emilion etc) would beg to differ, but “most” (of the posh ones)? I’d probably agree.

  19. TMB,

    But those are the exceptions, as PF points out. Most Pomerols aren’t priced as high as Haut-Medoc.

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