Topsy-turvy weather leaves winemakers in a spin
PARIS (AFP) - Record rainfall, cold snaps, hail storms and rampant vine disease: the conditions for making wine in large parts of France and in England have rarely been as tough as they have been this year.
Yet winemakers on both sides of the Channel are defiantly optimistic that 2012 could still turn out to be a vintage to remember for its quality as well as for the financially devastating impact of low yields.
"Some growers don't have a thing, others only have 30 per cent of their normal yields," said Mr James Dodson of Vine-Works, a consultancy based in Sussex, southern England.
"We had record amounts of rain in April, May and June. Our flowering happens over Wimbledon weekend (late June), when we had rain and high winds. It was terrible. Then in July, more rain and cool temperatures." Water is key to viticulture and was at the heart of challenges faced by vintners this year.