Get us in your inbox

Frosted vineyard
Photograph: Shutterstock

Like your vin rouge? Stock up now, because there could soon be a shortage

Freak weather in France could seriously damage this year’s vine crop

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

If you’ve been thinking that this April has seen some seriously freaky weather, well, you’re not alone. Loads of places have experienced strangely warm and/or cold weather – and it’s causing some serious problems.

Take France, for instance. Abnormally cold weather could have a huge impact on French vineyards. An especially warm March saw temperatures in the Burgundy region reach highs of 20C, causing early buds to emerge on the vines. However, since the start of April temperatures have dropped all the way to -5C, which could potentially kill many of those newly formed buds.

In response, French vintners are finding ways to protect their crops – and thereby prevent a Burgundy shortage this year. One solution involves lighting loads of candles to melt the ice, though other crop-growers have also experimented with heated electrical lines or spraying water. Just across the border in Switzerland, growers are trying to do the same with heaters and pellet stoves.

This isn’t the first time that France’s vineyards have faced the difficulties of a late frost. Last year, a similar phenomenon destroyed up to two-thirds of the entire crop in some regions, causing a total of €2 billion (£1.67 billion, $2.4 billion) in losses. And it isn’t just wine that’s at risk, either. Fruit orchards are also vulnerable.

In other words, there’s never been a better excuse to stock up on some vin rouge. If the vintners can’t save their crops, 2022 might well be another disastrous year for both French wine and, of course, any drinkers particularly fond of the stuff.

Got five minutes to spare? Want to tell us what life is like in your city? Take the Time Out Index survey here.

Latest news