Frances winemakers reported a markedly lower harvest in 2017

France's winemakers reported a markedly lower harvest in 2017

France's wine harvest this year fell markedly on recent years, according to data released earlier this week.

The country's Ministry of Agriculture described the numbers as "historically low," coming in at 36.9m hectolitres. The total represents a 19% slide on the previous year and a fall of 18% on the average annual volume recorded over the past five years.

The figures include all categories of wines.

The significantly smaller harvest was largely due to severe frosts in the spring which affected all production regions "at a sensitive stage in the growth of the vines", with Bordeaux, Charentes, Alsace and Jura hardest-hit.

The stand-out statistic is a 45% slide in Bordeaux volumes, which would have been even smaller had it not been for favourable weather at the end of the growing season, the Ministry underlined. This year's Bordeaux harvest is only one-third of its average volume during the five-year period from 2012 to 2016.

Drought conditions in several regions were also a factor in this year's modest harvest, with Provence, in the south-east and Languedoc-Roussillon, in the south-west, among those impacted. The latter struggled with hot, dry and windy weather, which pulled volumes down by 16% year-on-year.

Champagne volumes were down by 6% on 2016, lower than initially forecast, due to the negative impact of storms at the end of August. This year's harvest is down 21% on the average annual volume recorded over the past five years.

In Alsace, volumes showed a decrease of 30% compared to last year, largely due to spring frosts.

In the south-east, where rosé production is predominant, the 2017 harvest dipped 22% on last year.

Of France's other wine-growing regions, the Loire Valley bucked the trend with volumes up8 % on the small crop last year, while Beaujolais-Burgundy posted growth of 4% on 2016.

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