Wine output in France this year is likely to be one of the lowest in recent history.
The French agriculture ministry said severe frosts during the spring – which played havoc with the vines – and heavy rainfall over the summer months, leading to mildew, had seriously hurt output.
There are predictions that wine production could be down by a quarter or ever 30 per cent on normal years.
“For now, it looks like the yield will be comparable to that of 1977, a year when the vine harvest was reduced by both destructive frost and summer downpours,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement issued to TV station France 24.
French Agriculture Minister Julien De-normandie said the country had never had such a hard frost in early spring before.
The damage to the vineyards was “probably the greatest agricultural cat-astrophe of the beginning of the 21st century,” he added.
The French government has promised to put together a financial support package to help the hardest hit wine producers.