Coldest April day in 75 years hits rural France : No Russian gas may lead to no French wine
The fame of French wine attracts Chinese students to learn how to be wine tasters in Burgundy.
French wine and fruit growers were hit by the coldest April day since 1947 overnight Sunday and early Monday, the second straight year they have suffered freak spring weather.
Growers burned candles, sprayed water and used wind turbines in efforts to protect their crops as temperatures fell below the freezing point, with a record minus 9.3 C in Mourmelon in the Marne department east of Paris.
Experts say freak weather events are increasingly common due to climate change.
Temperatures rose on Monday, according to Meteo France forecaster Patrick Galois, but he warned that freezing weather would still occur between the southwest and central France.
Growers fear the worst.
“It’s very bad. It hit hard overnight. A lot of fruit growers are affected,” Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA farmers’ union, told AFP.
The agriculture ministry said it was “too early” to draw conclusions about the damage.
“The damage is only visible after a few days,” it said.
Fruit trees are more vulnerable than vineyards in 2022, the ministry said.
In the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the southwest, Damien Garrigues sprayed his apple trees to cover buds in ice in a bid to protect them from even lower temperatures.
“For now it’s not as bad as last year,” he said, noting he lost 20 percent of production in 2021.
In Agen in the neighboring Lot-et-Garonne department, “big losses” are expected for plum growers but not as bad as 2021, when “100 percent” were ruined by the cold snap, said Remy Muller, adviser at the department’s chamber of agriculture.