It’s been a double misfortune for the French agricultural business, but there has been a boost for its wine industry.
The price of wheat has been falling world-wide, just like so many other commodity prices. But in France, unusual weather has hit output. On the other hand, French wine has benefited from the weather, as well as rising demand from Asia, and a somewhat surprising effect of the Brexit vote.
Taking wheat first, Le Figaro quoted Gautier le Molgat, head of French agricultural trading firm Agritel, as saying: "Not only are volumes very low, but prices are at rock bottom as harvests have been very good elsewhere, notably in Ukraine, Romania and Russia,”
Agresta, which is part of the French agriculture ministry and is responsible for compiling statistics said: “The crops have suffered from too much water and too little light. . . The flowering and the grain maturation happened in bad conditions.”
As a result, French wheat production is expected to fall 30% from the 2015 harvest.
But it is not all bad for French agriculture. It turns out that the fall in sterling meant that wine held in bonded warehouses in the UK fell in price, leading to greater sales. The FT quoted Gary Boom, the chief executive of BI, a global fine wine merchant, as saying: “We literally had to close down our [sales] screen at the moment of Brexit, everyone just piled in.”
So collectors are looking to replenish stocks, at the same time the weather that so hit wheat production seems to have been responsible for an exceptional vintage in the Bordeaux wine industry.
French farmers may be lamenting over falling wheat prices, but at least another industry has less reasons to w’ine.