In Provence, the devastating downpour is swamped the region’s famous wine farms.
Near the town of Saint-Paul, Jean-Jacques Dubois, a third-generation vintner, reports he has had to withdraw wine that was half filled. “We had to collect bottles around the sides of the fermentation barrels to escape the rain,” he says.
The crisis also rippled to Northern Spain, where the region’s largest wine exporter was forced to suspend operations at its Bodegas Vidal-Varieta winery in Torrevieja.
Work on an export pipeline is ongoing to ship in extra supplies and the Bodegas Varieta says it is confident for the future. But at the nearby winery Pilar, viticulturist Ana Josefina Colen says that makes no difference for the current harvest. “It’s the worst year we’ve had,” she says.
Near Campania, also in Southern France, Carmen De Benedetti predicts this is the worst year her family’s vineyard at Ponte della Francesca has had in a decade. “The plants tried to hide the bad weather and fruit got bigger, but every year we expect a bad crop,” she says. “We’ve never had an autumn like this and it’s the worst since we’ve had internet – and our IT system broke down.”
She is not the only one who wonders if the troubles are cyclical. “It seems like each year the weather changes – it never seems the same; it’s always better in the summer,” De Benedetti says.