Some French media report that ‘over 200 properties’ will have to close down because they cannot pay the costs from the 2012 harvest, but trade association Inter Beaujolais said the figure is closer to 50.
In an average harvest, Beaujolais produces some 850,000 hectolitres of wine, but last year’s harvest was 40% lower, threatening the existence of some of the region’s 2,700 domaines according to Inter Beaujolais.
The cause was bad weather – including frosts and hail – that affected the entire Beaujolais region. ‘We normally have difficult weather that can affect parts of Beaujolais, but 2012 was difficult across the entire region, something that is absolutely unheard of,’ Jean Bourjade of Inter Beaujolais told Decanter.com.
The maximum yield allowed in Beaujolais is 52 hectolitres per hectare. In 2012, it was 30.
Previous reports that the 2012 harvest was 50% below the average were revised to 40% below the harvest last month, after the numbers were double checked, Bourjade said. But state aid and loans are still needed to assist properties that have barely been able to meet their costs.
‘Some domaines will survive with short term loans to pay their costs, but they did not make any money for themselves,’ he said. But about 50 domaines, ‘are beyond help,’ he added.
Public aid, including a €1m grant from the Conseil Général in the Rhone Department, where up to 95% of Beaujolais producers are located, will not buffer expected price increases for Beaujolais wine across appellations – from basic Beaujolais to village crus, according to Bourjade and French news reports.