Pouilly Fume and northern Sancerre vineyards were both hit by frost last month which affected winegrowers across wide areas of France, but it's too early to assess the ultimate effect on the 2017 harvest.
That's according to Benoit Roumet, director of the Sancerre-based Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre.
"We know the damage on the buds but we don't know the damage for the rest of the plant," Roumet said during an interview at the London Wine Fair this week.
"It's the second year of frost in the Loire," he said, with this year's damage following a cold snap in the spring of 2016 that in turn evoked memories of a 1991 freeze in the region.
"Now some people are investing in frost protection systems," Roumet said, noting that growers in Quincy have installed windmill frost protection systems over the past several years and are now able to protect approximately 80 percent of their surface area.
A research center has been in operation for the Sancerre region since 1994, investigating weather protection and also promoting such issues as massal selection, Roumet said. The center is now a repository for 267 strains of Sauvignon Blanc, which offer wine growers "more complexity and also protection against disease," he said.
Overseas demand remains buoyant for Sancerre, with 66 percent of white Sancerre exported, primarily to the United States, its biggest foreign market, and also the U.K., its second-biggest, according to Roumet. A similar proportion of Sancerre rose is also exported, with the U.K. the biggest market for that. Red Sancerre is a tougher sell in the U.K. market, with volume "still small," he said.