Bordeaux is Drowning in Downy Mildew

The Bordeaux region has been hit by a serious downy mildew wave, and the damage is still not clear.

Reading time: 1m 45s

Grapes suffering from downy mildew (Photo: Tunatura/
Grapes suffering from downy mildew (Photo: Tunatura/

Winemakers in southwestern France, especially Bordeaux, are being affected by a second, massive wave of downy mildew (peronospera). Christophe Chateau of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) told the German trade magazine WEINWIRTSCHAFT that it is still not possible to assess the full extent of the damage, but it is already clear that it will be partly significant.

Merlot, which accounts for around 55% of all vineyards in the region, is almost completely affected. He reports that some areas are more severely affected, up to the probable complete loss of the expected harvest. Other areas, which were less exposed to rain, are therefore less affected.

The final damage can only be assessed with the start of the harvest, reports the communications director, this depends on the weather conditions of the next few weeks.

No organic solution

He sees one reason for the rapid spread of the infestation in biological pesticides, which are not sufficient for an effective disease control. In addition to the already certified businesses, many other businesses are now spraying with these agents because they are in the process of converting to organic farming.

The situation is getting worse

"Blessed is he who is not a winemaker today. The one I spoke to today no longer knows how to maintain his business under all the existing challenges. Insurance is also getting more expensive,“ Chateau expresses his concern, "something needs to be done urgently."

Not only Bordeaux, the entire southwest is affected by the extreme climate change and its consequences, some with too much moisture, others with persistent drought, the situation is getting worse, he reports.

The agricultural authority in Bordeaux has set up a hotline for affected winemakers and is also in talks with insurance companies, who have not yet been prepared to observe and record the damage. At the moment, Chateau is hoping for the hot Sahara air announced by the weather report.

The grape varieties are currently being discussed a lot in Bordeaux. Not only the too warm climate is increasingly affecting Merlot, but also the generally declining global consumption of red wine is causing misery in the region. The first batch of wine surpluses is currently being distilled. ITP

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