Fires which began last week in the Var region of France have caused widespread destruction to vineyards producing some of the world’s most famous wine.
Homes, forests and tourist resorts in the south of France have also been affected by the blazes which were spread by strong winds and high temperatures in what are being called the region’s worst wildfires in 20 years.
The Provencal wine producers’ association, the CIVP are carrying out urgent assessments to see how much damage has been caused. The National Federation of Agricultural Workers’ Unions (FNSEA) said that although fires had mainly hit forests, several wine-growing areas were also heavily affected. It estimated the figure at 73 wineries and 5 cooperatives.
One wine producer told the BBC that any disruption to supplies was likely to push up prices of their famous rosé wine. Stephen Cronk of Maison Mirabeau said; “For us, it’s uncertain whether we will harvest or not. Personally, it’s heart-breaking. We’ve been hit by two ‘once-in-a-generation’ frosts, and now comes the worst forest fire in decades.”
Mr Cronk also added, “We need to think more about climate change and whether we are doing enough to protect these forests. We hope this will serve as a further wakeup call that these types of things from happening again. These events will be more frequent and more devastating. We must do our best to prevent them.”
Fire is the latest problem to hit French wine producers. In April, rare deep frosts destroyed buds on grapevines in the vineyards of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Languedoc and the Rhône valley.