Originally posted February 16, 2018.
The most disastrous French wine crop since Phylloxera means much higher prices for consumers. Andrew Jefford explains at Decanter.com that 2017’s crop will be the smallest in over 50 years. He writes:
Apologies for the phrasing, but 2017 must be regarded as one of the most disaster-strewn years the wine world has endured since the onset of phylloxera. It would be imprudent not to prepare for more of the same. Or worse.
Savage April frosts, the typically random depredations of hail, and fierce summer heat gave both France and Italy their smallest crop for more than 50 years in 2017, with Spain barely faring better. Around half the world’s wine comes from these three nations. Their shortages also followed poor 2016 harvests for both Chile and Argentina.
Last year began with wildfires in some of Chile’s oldest vineyards, and in parts of South Africa’s winelands, too. Wildfire struck Portugal in June, and it then sprinted no less terrifyingly through northern California’s wine heartland in early October, before returning to Portugal and northern Spain in mid-October, and to southern California in December.
The 2017 fire death toll in these three countries exceeded 150, a figure approaching the fatalities exacted by fire on Australia’s Black Saturday in February 2009.You might regard all of these events as isolated incidents, and consider 2017 an unlucky year.
I’m not so sure. As I wrote in a blog on Decanter.com on 15 May last year (‘Big frost is back – but why?’), the April 2017 frosts may have been due to a disorderly polar vortex, caused in turn by warming oceans. Such frosts may therefore become a regular feature of European springs of the future, at a time when milder winters provoke ever earlier budburst. This would be a catastrophic combination for wine-growers.
Read more here.