Europe's Wine Harvest the Weakest in 50 Years

The European Union's grapes are hurting across the board

Lovers of Old World wines may be seeing fewer bottles on the shelves: Wine experts are now saying the European wine harvest is the lowest it's been in half a century. 

Businessweek reports that the damages spread from smaller wine regions like southern England to the major producers like Burgundy and Champagne. What's worrisome is that the European Union is the world's largest producer of wine, with up to 62 percent of the world's wine production. And it's all thanks to the weather: drought in the Mediterannean region, and wet weather in the northern wine regions. Said wine expert with the European Union's farmer unions, Thierry Coste, "Two big producing nations, France and Italy, have not known a harvest so weak in 40 to 50 years.. All the major producing nations have been hurt."

What can consumers expect? Lower production from Champagne (up to a 40 percent decrease) and Bourgogne Beaujolais (up to a 30 percent decrease), and a 10 percent decrease of Bordeaux wines. But the smaller harvest is expected to have produced better-quality wines — a sigh of relief for oenophiles everywhere.

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