Small Bordeaux Yield May Not Lead to Price Hike

The Bordeaux wine

Winemakers in Bordeaux watched in agony as extreme frosts led to a 40% drop in wine output in 2017. The Bordeaux wine board reports that yields were so small that some opted not to even cork a vintage from the year. Nonetheless, most don't believe that this will lead to a price surge.

The Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux confirms the 40% plunge, with only 3.5 hectoliters of wine produced last year.

Some vineyards, particularly those in Saint-Émilion, suffered yield losses of 90%. Others in the region didn't surrender any harvest due to the frost.

Experts think the numbers from 2017 will show the country's lowest wine production since 1945.

A warmer-than-usual March led to early bud growth in Bordeaux. Then, unexpected frosts in late April decimated much of the young crop. Several frantic winemakers placed burning oil drums in the middle of rows of wines to prevent further frost damage.

Many wine-producing chateaux of the region, including Château Climens, Château Fieuzal, and Château Chantegrive, revealed that they would release only a limited vintage, or no vintage at all, from 2017. CIVB reports that the Right Bank was most negatively affected by the frosts.

Allan Sichel, the council's president, explains that while some Bordeaux winemakers had a devastating year, others produced a normal amount. Even so, Sichel says that the struggling chateaux can draw on earlier vintages to keep them afloat.

As for the prices? Signature Selection's Jeffrey Davies believes that hiking prices would be a mistake. He claims that many people already were shocked at the high prices of the 2015 and 2016 vintages and are unlikely to pay more or even the same amount for the smaller 2017 output.

Sichel agrees that wine costs will probably not surge, noting that basic Bordeaux wines may cost slightly more, but the rest should remain roughly the same.

It was an all-around tough year for producing French wine. The region of Alsace also experienced frost damage, and southern France endured a draught.

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