There May Be Hope For France's Wine, Despite Drought

If you've been rationing your bottles of Beaujolais and Bordeaux, rumor has it that may no longer be necessary. In a recent press release, experts suggested that wine production in France is expected to make a bit of a comeback, rising between 13 and 21%, despite struggles related to climate change. It might sound like a bit of a contradiction, but let us explain.

Lately, growing grapes has become a risky business thanks to climate change. Not only can extremes in weather and temperature affect vine health, but they also can impact the overall quality of a wine. According to Wine Enthusiast, global warming can lead to loss of crops through flooding and drought, but it can also stunt the growing season, resulting in wines with undeveloped tannins, less acidity, and higher alcohol levels — all of which mean a flabbier, more muted glass of vin.

While the effects of climate change may seem grave, the French agricultural sector sees a silver lining following last year's frost-hit. In fact, Drinks International claims that French production will reach between roughly 42 million and 45 million hectolitres of wine, which is 7% above the average of the past five years. But, why?

Agreeable weather has led all sorts of varietals to thrive

Contrary to what you may have thought, France24 explains that most wine regions in France — except for the frost and hail-plagued southwest — actually experienced more agreeable weather during flowering this year than they did during the previous year. 

Although there is concern following the many heatwaves already experienced this summer in Alsace, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Burgundy, the report suggests that the current dry and arid temperatures have actually played a role in reducing risk of vine diseases. The heat may even jumpstart the grape harvest, which can also prove useful.

Interestingly, VinePair reports that in some regions, there are lesser-grown varietals that are thriving in comparison to traditional grape varieties. Naturally, this also offers some hope for this year's total wine production. It might just be time to grab a glass of Chablis (and maybe prepare some escargot) in celebration!