France predicts bumper champagne production this year
Champagne lovers were in for a treat as official statistics released Thursday predicted that France's production of bubbly would take a 56 percent leap this year.
The Agreste statistics, drawn up by the agriculture ministry, revealed that the country's overall wine production was expected to increase 11 percent this year compared to 2012, when the harvest was particularly bad.
Champagne came out as the winner, with the ministry predicting a 56 percent rise year-on-year and a 16 percent increase compared to the average yield over the past five years.
The predictions do not however take into account severe damage incurred earlier this month by vineyards in the famed southwestern region of Bordeaux when violent storms swept the area.
From Friday to Saturday, some 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of vineyards in the Bordeaux region suffered 80 to 100 percent losses -- an area almost as big as the island of Guernsey.
"The affected area is very big and entire properties are devastated and have lost almost everything," said Bernard Farges, head of the Bordeaux Wine Interprofessional Council, which promotes wine from the area.
But even without the latest damage, the Agreste statistics predicted that the Bordeaux region would see an eight percent drop in production compared to 2012.
Bordeaux is not the only wine-producing region to have been affected by violent storms.
Burgundy was also devastated by hail in July, although the latest Agreste figures have already taken into account damage incurred in that region.
© 2013 AFP