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France’s Top Vineyards Suffer Biggest Loss in Decades

  • Worst freeze since 1991 to cut Bordeaux volume by up to 40%
  • Champagne, Burgundy vineyards suffer for second straight year
Updated on

In the predawn hours of April 27, as temperatures across Bordeaux plunged below freezing, the normally dark and deserted vineyards suddenly sprang to life. Armies of workers decamped into the fields, fires raged and giant fans and helicopter blades whipped up the icy air.

The invading enemy: A frost that threatened one of the world’s most valuable crops, the grapes that produce $4,000 bottles of Chateau Petrus and other prized wines.