People are at work during the grape harvest in the St. Veran vineyard, in Chasselas.
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"This isn't so much a harvest, as a hunt for grapes," said French winemaker Jean-Jacques Robert, with a rueful laugh as he unloaded grapes still warm from his vineyards around Fuisse in Burgundy. "It's a catastrophe, the worst harvest for 30 or 40 years," said the normally cheery 64-year-old owner of Domaine Robert-Denogent.The organic winemaker lost between two-thirds and three-quarters of his harvest in one hailstorm in April. Official figures from the Agriculture Ministry show 2016 as one of the worst years in three decades, with production down one third in Champagne and other key wine regions like Burgundy and the Loire valley almost as badly hit.In areas that got the worst of the weather, it was organic winemakers and those from France's growing "vin nature" movement – which campaigns for a return to more natural wines – who suffered most.Such dilemmas have prompted more than 130 restauranteurs and wine shops to launch a donations drive to save "more interesting" winemakers from going to the wall.
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