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Prices of French wines soar after poor harvest

Published: 17 Mar 2014 17:02 GMT+01:00

Brits have long made a habit of crossing the Channel to France to load up on cheaper French wine, but it might not be so economical this year.

Due to the terrible 2013 grape harvest, the price of wines from France’s world-renowned Burgundy region have climbed a whopping 32 percent compared to the previous year.

In July The Local reported how some vineyards in Burgundy faced catastrophe after the region was hit by devastating hail storms.

A summer hailstorm caused "catastrophic" damage to some of the area's most prestigious vineyards, with up to 70 percent of crops destroyed on some estates, local wine producers said at the time.

But the devastating weather did not just impact on Burgundy's finest wines.

In August growers in Bordeaux called for government aid after their crops were also ruined by the rain. And there was also a knock-on effect on the price of a bottle.

Certain Bordeaux wines saw their prices jump by 20 percent between August 2013 and January 2014, according to new data released by France's Ministry of Agriculture.

The average increase for all types of French wines was about 18 percent over the same period in last quarter of 2012 and start of 2013. Though when compared to the overall average prices from 2008-2012, the cost of wines were actually up by 25 percent.

The ministry's report pinned the blame for the spike in prices on the “the limited availability of the early season” wines.

After the heavy rains and cold weather in June hurt grape growth, the harvest took place later than usual, hurting the quality of the grapes that were eventually pressed for the year’s vintage.

The resulting harvest was “historically low” with 42.3 million hectolitres of wine produced, according to the ministry.

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Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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