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Languedoc yields 15% down following drought and mildew

Published:  09 January, 2024

The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL), which represents 2,000 estates across the region has published its 2023 vintage report, revealing a 15% decline in production on the five-year average.

In terms of volumes, the situation is mixed according to the CIVL, which accounts for approximately 2.3m hls of wine sold a year across 20 Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and 18 Protected Geographical Indications (PGI). 

Vineyards in the north reported average or even good harvests, however, in the south, the late heatwave caused berries that were already small to dry out.

“In our sector, which had already suffered from the drought in spring, the heat wave at the end of August did a lot of damage, dragging our volumes down,” said Anaël Payrou, director of the Aude-based cooperative Le Cellier des Demoiselles.

Further west, downy mildew caused yield losses. In l’Aude for example, volumes have been a major concern according to Gilles Foussat, president of the Syndicat Cru Malepère.

“For Merlot, which represents half of our vines, we estimate the drop in yield to be 70%. On the other hand, Cabernet Franc and Grenache have done very well, so the losses will be limited to 30% compared with a normal year. But there is no such thing as a normal year. So the conclusion we can draw from this vintage is that we need to prioritise quality over quantity because volumes have become too uncertain,” said Foussat.

Despite the difficult climatic conditions, the CIVL was keen to highlight the strength of those grapes that did stand the test of time.

“The good acidity everywhere, which will produce wines with freshness and great aromatic clarity, profiles that correspond to market expectations,” said Lionel Puech, wine director of Maison Jeanjean, which covers the Languedoc region.

For Christophe Bousquet, president of the CIVL, the 2023 vintage highlights, “the progress made by winegrowers everywhere, who have been able to adapt to produce very high-quality wines. This is all the more important given that the increasingly frequent vagaries of the weather have affected production potential, squeezing our volumes.”

“We can't wait to introduce you to this new vintage,” Bousquet added.