The 2012 grape harvest in France will be less abundant than last year and will occur later – even though the unstable weather makes such forecasts difficult.
That's the prediction of FranceAgriMer, the French national institute for farms and fisheries, which says the harvest "is predicted for mid-September for the majority of vineyards, but could stretch out until October" – for example in Charentes or in the Cognac region.
In a press release, the institute adds that "on the quantitative level, the harvest is forecast to be close to the average for the last five years," producing 46.7 million hectoliters. It had reached 50.8 million h/L last year.
The early part of the season was marked by a very harsh end of winter, cold weather and spring rains, "which slowed down the growth of the vine." In May and June, rain and storms disrupted flowering, while in some areas – notably Beaujolais – hail destroyed the crop.