Mold is threatening to ruin the French wine industry

The French wine industry has suffered from a disastrous wave of reds and whites from Morocco in recent years. But the trouble in reds is being blamed on leaf mold that is popping up on a huge scale.

Last year, the national food and agriculture ministry said the number of cases of the mold in France had almost doubled. This year, ministers said the growing problem could be “catastrophic.” The reason why everyone is so concerned is that the mold that forms on red wine is so closely linked to West Nile virus. (West Nile virus is a very serious threat to people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and babies, elderly and those who are just recovering from operations.) One red wine industry official was quoted as saying that if the mold, called Platanas tributa, infected all the French wines made from red grapes, the loss to the industry would exceed $7.5 billion.

And there is a potential silver lining to the whole mess: According to The Wine Market, due to the sanctions against Russia, the UAE, Libya and Iran that have hit the export of grapes, the sharp rise in the use of East African wine by the continent’s wine industry is likely to continue, which in turn will help them produce and sell more. Given that it is likely that Africa will produce a quarter of the world’s wine in the next two decades and that Western Europe will still produce almost half the world’s wine, the shift to East Africa seems likely to raise the overall production of wine and lead to a more equitable distribution of grapes between Western and Eastern wine regions. That sounds like a great alternative to the current woes of the French wine industry.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


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