If you plan on getting engaged or celebrating a job promotion with a glass of champagne, you may want to stock up now. According to the wine journalists at Decanter, France’s signature sparkling refreshment has been under siege by a variety of crop-destroying complications that may result in the lowest yield since the 1980s.
Frost has been a major source of problems since the spring, where a late epidemic reduced one vineyard’s expected supply by 70 percent. Hailstorms in the Aube pummeled crops. And mildew has infested a large portion of Champagne's vineyards, with grey rot eating away at grapes in more than 65 percent of them. According to Eric Rodez, of Champagne Rodez, it's the roughest growing season the area has seen since 1956.
Fortunately, vintners are not without a contingency plan: Most have reserves that can bolster a low yield during rougher seasons, though it’s anticipated that this current wave of natural disasters could put a heavy dent in the supplemental inventory.