A wet, cold spring across most of the country slowed the growing cycle down considerably this year. It failed to have an impact on volumes though as current forecasts released by the Ministry of Agriculture point to a more abundant crop than last year. In fact, spring rainfall brought welcome relief to many regions that had been prone to drought and were experiencing declining yields as a result of it. The 2013 crop is significantly longer than last year’s but at 45.8 million hectolitres is still only average and a far cry from the 60-70 million-hectolitre mark that was the erstwhile norm.
Forecasts issued at the beginning of the month by the Ministry of Agriculture reveal that this year’s harvest is likely to be 11 percent up on last year’s record low with all categories of wine expected to show increases. Appellation wines are predicted to be 5 percent up on 2012 whilst base wines for brandies – including Armagnac and Cognac – could be up by as much as 18 percent. The potential for regional wines though is more difficult to ascertain as producers can choose between various categories when they fill out their harvest returns.
Although the summer heatwave reduced the risk of disease, widespread storms over the past few weeks caused significant damage, mainly in Burgundy and Bordeaux.