Downy Mildew – 20 Million Euros in Aid for Vineyards Devastated by Downy Mildew
On November 8, 2023, the French National Assembly unanimously passed an amendment to create an emergency fund capped at 20,000 euros per vineyard over three years, to assist vine growers whose vineyards have been severely affected by downy mildew, particularly those in the Southwest. Downy mildew has significantly impacted the cash flow of vine growers, with the 2023 harvest considered to be the lowest in Bordeaux in the past ten years.
Downy mildew is a fungus that affects leaves, stems, and fruits, leading to the death of plants, and it thrives in conditions of soil and vineyard humidity over an extended period.
This fund is part of the 2024 Finance Bill as part of the “competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture, agri-food, and forestry” framework and comes in response to insurance companies’ refusal to compensate vine growers affected by the fungus on the grounds that it is not covered by multi-risk climate contracts.
The program falls under the agricultural de minimis regime and replaces the initial idea proposed by the wine industry for an aid package of 60 million euros.
However, there has been criticism that the aid is exclusively directed towards vineyards affected by downy mildew, leaving out vine growers affected by drought and hail.