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'Third of French wine production lost' due to cold snap

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
'Third of French wine production lost' due to cold snap
A winemaker in Le Landreau, near Nantes, checks his vines to see if there is any life left. Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

At least a third of French wine production this year, representing almost €2 billion in sales, will be lost due to a bout of unusually cold early spring weather, a federation said Wednesday.

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National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions (FNSEA) secretary general Jérôme Despey told AFP that the estimate was made after consultations with all the players in the sector.

The rare freezing temperatures that have caused some of the worst damage in decades to crops and vines struck across France earlier this month, with the consequences compounded by the fact the cold snap came after warm weather.

IN PICTURES: French vineyards ablaze with candles in bid to ward off frosts

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“We should have six bunches of grapes per vine. Now we’re hoping for maybe one,” Michael Gerin told AFP at his 17-hectare property in the heart of the Rôone valley, one of the country’s prime wine-growing regions.

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve lost at least 70,000 bottles’ – French winemakers count the cost of late frosts

"This is probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century," Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said on Monday, adding that France has never seen such an frost wave in early spring. The government is preparing an emergency package of measures.

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