Overcoming the crisis

The French wine industry has been hit hard in recent months. Climate change is exacerbating the situation. The structure of the cooperatives is sustainable, but the call for reforms is growing. Iris Trenkner-Panwitz reports.

Cave du Château de Chénas / Credit: (C)2007 tous droits réservés
Cave du Château de Chénas / Credit: (C)2007 tous droits réservés

The French wine nation continues to go through hard times. At the end of March, it was thought that the storm had been weathered – thanks to the suspension of US punitive tariffs, the revival of the Chinese market and the gradual reopening of the Horeca Canal – but the momentous frost nights at the beginning of April literally put the new optimism on ice. The damage was in some cases immense. Grapes that were spared by the cold were affected by fungal infestation in many places due to the wet spring. Against this background, last year's discussions about the distillation of harvest surpluses seem almost grandiose. 

One positive effect: in addition to the reawakening of trade activities, the unpleasant harvest prospects have probably also led to a massive increase in wine sales in the first half of 2021, in many cases even exceeding the figures for the same half of 2019. 

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