Candles save the French grand cru Chablis from the ravages of frost – .

Candles save the French grand cru Chablis from the ravages of frost – .

CHABLIS, France, September 22 (Reuters) – As the harvest begins, winemaker Laurent Pinson looks with relief at one of his top-of-the-range grands crus: by burning large “candles”, he has protected the vines from severe frost spring which ravaged other regions of his estate.

However, the drop in overall production will force it to increase the prices of its Chablis bottles, most of which are intended for export.

Wine production is expected to be historically low in France this year after frost and mildew fungi ravaged vineyards across the country. In Yonne, home to Chablis, famous for its delicate white wines, two-thirds of the harvest has been destroyed, said the Ministry of Agriculture. Read more

“All the grands crus (wines) have been spared more than the others because of the protections”, specifies Pinson, who runs the wine house for more than 400 years. “But on some plots that were completely frozen, the damage can reach 80 to 90%,” he said.

Temperatures plunged to -5 ° C (23 ° F) in April in wine-growing regions including Chablis in Burgundy, injuring already well-developed shoots due to mild weather earlier.

To limit the damage, winegrowers including Pinson had placed hundreds of candles – paraffin cans – among the vines to ward off the cold. The result was a dark orange glow of tens of thousands of early morning candles. Read more

Other protections included wind towers and water sprays to create a layer of ice around the buds.

The production losses will force Pinson to raise its prices for the 2021 vintage of Chablis, he said, while overseeing the harvest.

“This will have important consequences both in terms of volumes but also in terms of price because the markets are a bit tight,” he said, referring to a strong export demand during the year. elapsed.

Chablis, located in the northern part of the Burgundy region, produces its fruity and acidic white wine from Chardonnay grapes. Over 70% of production is exported to key markets in Asia, Northern Europe and the United States.

“We know very well that when there is a significant increase in prices, the market tends to slow down, but economic increases are inevitable,” Pinson said.

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, Noémie Olive and Pascal Rossignol, Editing William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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