we must “anticipate and adapt to this climate change”


Ophelie Artaud

The heat and drought also had repercussions on the vines. This year, the harvest was brought forward by three weeks. Jérôme Despey, secretary general of the FNSEA, president of the Hérault Chamber of Agriculture and winegrower, returned to this issue at the microphone of Yohann Tritz on Europe 1.

INTERVIEW

This year, the harvest started three weeks before the usual period. The cause: successive heat waves and drought. A precocity that forces winegrowers to adapt. Jérôme Despey, secretary general of the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), president of the Hérault Chamber of Agriculture and himself a winegrower, returned to this subject at the microphone of Yohann Tritz on Europe 1. “Since I have been a winegrower, starting the harvest three weeks before the normal period has never been equaled before,” he underlined.

“We need to move forward on the subject of vine irrigation”

“My first early harvest was in 2003 and we started on August 13 because of the drought and the heat wave”. Two difficulties which have affected the whole of France in an unprecedented way this summer and which are forcing winegrowers to review their way of working. “We are led to anticipate. Even if the vine is rather resistant to drought, in addition to the various increasingly early heat waves, there was a fairly dry spring which led to faster maturity of the grapes. We must therefore intervene earlier. These drought phenomena cause the leaves to fall, the grapes draw on the reserves and mature more quickly, which explains these historically early harvests”, explained Jérôme Despey on Europe 1.

According to him, professionals will have no choice but to “adapt to this climate change”. Even if, according to him, solutions are possible. “We need to move forward on the subject of vine irrigation. In France, 10% of the surfaces are irrigable, while in Spain this figure rises to 46% and in Australia, New Zealand and California , it climbs to 90%. We have to work on this subject and we also have to think about storing water and working on more resistant grape varieties. Without forgetting to adapt to find labor. is already complicated when the harvest started in September, but it’s even more so when it’s the beginning of August. It’s a lot of work to do given the earliness of our harvest”, he concluded.


Fr

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