France Expects Average Harvest

The French Ministry of Agriculture forecasts the 2023 harvest yields to be between 44 to 47m hectoliters. 

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Despite the strong downy mildew infestation, the French remain optimistic. (Photo: Massimo Santi,
Despite the strong downy mildew infestation, the French remain optimistic. (Photo: Massimo Santi,

For its initial 2023 harvest prediction, the French Ministry of Agriculture estimates a yield ranging from 44 to 47m hectoliters. This would place it on par with the average of the past five years or even slightly surpass it. Last year, a total of 45.8m hectoliters were produced.

However, these recently released forecasts are based on conservative estimates, as explained by the ministry's statistical service, Agreste. The impact of the severe downy mildew infestation in Bordeaux and the Southwest remains uncertain. On top of this is the ongoing severe drought in Languedoc and Roussillon. In other wine-growing regions, the overall situation looks positive. Favorable climatic conditions during the flowering season and rainfall, especially at the start of the summer, have adequately moistened the soils.

True and false plagues

Bordeaux and Southwest

Successive rain and thunderstorm episodes in May and June, combined with high temperatures, have favored downy mildew infestations in Bordeaux and hindered plant protection treatments. Nearly all Merlot vineyard areas, which account for about 55-60% of the region, are affected. In Southwest France, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and botrytis are causing damage, leading to potential harvest reductions of up to 30%. The five-year average is unlikely to be met here.

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The vineyards were largely unaffected by frost or hail. The growth of vegetation is about 2-3 days earlier than the ten-year average. The grapes are mostly healthy, pointing to an above-average harvest.

Burgundy and Beaujolais

Burgundy is hopeful for yields above the five-year average. Currently, the outlook is positive, with significant yields even in the face of some downy mildew challenges. The consideration of forming reserves was mentioned.
The same goes for Beaujolais. Following the drought of the previous year, the soils have now been adequately hydrated, setting high prospects.

An average harvest is expected.
An average harvest is expected.


In Alsace, the volume is currently expected to be higher than it was in 2022. However, powdery mildew has spread, so losses remain a possibility.
In Savoy, despite strong fungal pressure and localized hail damage, a larger harvest than the five-year average is anticipated. Jura also seems set for a more substantial harvest with mostly healthy and promising grape quantities.

Loire Valley

In the Loire Valley, downy mildew pressure is high. Particularly in the Centre region, a combination of spring frosts and hail events resulted in notable setbacks. Yet, the overall production is likely to surpass the five-year average after two lean vintages. Harvest is expected to start in early September.

Languedoc and Roussillon

Extreme drought affects Hérault, the coast of Audois, and especially the Eastern Pyrenees. Gard, which received adequate rainfall, expects a good harvest. Overall yields will likely slightly miss the five-year average.


The region, especially in Ardèche and Drôme, suffers from downy mildew, but the situation appears to be under control, as emphasized by the ministry. Hail damage has been reported primarily in the Var department. An average vintage is expected.


On the Île de Beauté, powdery mildew presents a challenge. However, the grapes benefited from the early summer rainfall that countered the looming drought. Production might surpass both the previous year's level and the five-year average. (ITP)

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