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Frost hits Muscadet harvest

Published:  23 July, 2008

Growers fear harvest loss of between 20-50% because of frost.

On average the region's production is normally around 600,000 hl a year.

Frost is unusual at this time of the year because the region is so close to the Atlantic. The temperature reached -4C in certain areas.

Melon de Bourgogne (the Muscadet grape) is quite resistant to frost in normal conditions for it originates from the Eastern part of France, accustomed to freezing temperatures, but it does not usually endure frost so late in the plant cycle.

The frost on April 7 is a repeat of the unusual frost the region suffered last year.

Muscadet Growers Union president Marcel Jussiaume said: "We were already short of 150,000 hl wine to finish this campaign, so this frost is really something we could have done without".

In 2007, the frost and its associated mildew reduced the harvest to less than 20hl per hectare for many growers, causing some firms to go bankrupt.