Hail to the bubbly! No, literally -- hail has been falling all over grapes made to make champagne and it’s cutting into the French output of the effervescent beverage.
The champagne harvest is down 40 percent this year, leading to the worst yield in at least four decades, thanks to hail storms and fungus caused by wet weather, according to the French Agriculture Ministry, Businessweek reports. All over Europe, in fact, crops of grapes used to make wine have had a bad season this year, causing the total French grape harvest to decline by 20 percent, including in the well-known wine-producing regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux. Yields are also down in Italy and England.