Late frost could mean 20% price hike on wine

Vineyards in Bordeaux could lose half their harvest this year

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Wine lovers have been warned to prepare themselves for a steep rise in the price of their favourite tipple, after two cold snaps at the end of April destroyed vines across France.

Reports claim that many vineyards in Bordeaux could lose about half of their harvest this year, with around a fifth losing 90-100%.

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Wines from the Cognac, Bergerac, Lot-et-Garonne and Champagne regions have also been affected.

Vineyards took extreme measures to battle the cold - using candles, heaters and even the down-draught from helicopters to try to save their crops.

Credits: Getty Images

However, the frost ravaged the fragile shoots and buds, which had emerged prematurely following mild temperatures in March.

The total damage is estimated at up to €2 billion (£1.7 billion), with wine production set to fall by about 350 million bottles.

With France's wine industry now facing its worst crisis in 26 years, Bordeaux's chateaux are warning that the 2017 vintage will be rare and expensive.

Hervé Grandeau, chairman of the Federation of Fine Wines of Bordeaux, told The Times that the 2017 vintage would rise in price by 10-20%.

Credits: Getty

Some chateaux are already putting up the price of their 2016 vintage, to compensate for an expected fall in revenue next year.

"We have a hangover. 80% of our vineyard was hit by the frost. It's all our work that has been wiped out," said Jean-Francois Galhaud, president of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council that represents nearly 1,000 winegrowers.

"It's a desolate scene. The vines seem beautiful but when you approach them you can see that everything is dead. There is no more fruit."

French winemakers aren't the only ones affected. Vineyards in Germany, Italy and the UK were also hit by the April cold snap.

Chris Foss, head of the wine department at Plumpton College in East Sussex, told The Guardian that some vineyards in the south-east of England had been "decimated" with 90% of buds destroyed.

"I've been in English wine for 30 years and never seen anything like it," said Foss.

"It looks like there will be a 50% drop in this year's expected yield – if not higher."

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