Sour Grapes: Bad Weather to Bring Europe Worst Harvest in 50 Years
Is it time to start stockpiling your favorite Shiraz and Syrah varieties? Drought and cold weather have ravaged European vineyards this season, leading to what could be the worst grape harvest in 50 years, the Associated Press reports.
Hauls in key regions in France and Italy are expected to slump as much as 40 percent this year on top of declines seen in 2011. France’s Champagne and Burgundy regions were particularly hard hit, especially impacting the Chardonnay grape, which is used in many white wine varieties.
That’s left some winemakers no choice but to forgo the harvest this year, bad news for the world’s wine lovers—since European vintages account for 62 percent of global wine production.
“I have never seen a situation like this before,” English winemaker Cherie Spriggs told the AP. The grapes Spriggs uses for her Nyetimber sparkling white wine were too damaged to produce a quality product, she said, and her company will skip the harvest this year.
In places where small profit margins are already squeezing vintners, this year’s bad harvest could lead some wineries to close up shop.