Another day, another report of storms and hail wreaking havoc through French vineyards.
After a very mixed start to the season with late frosts, snow and severe flooding, vignerons were already forecasting a difficult and potentially small harvest before the most recent problems. June 17th saw Vouvray subjected to a major hailstorm with golf ball sized hailstones ripping through the vines. 5 weeks later on 23rdJuly it was the turn of the Cote de Beaune as growers could do no more than stand and watch mother nature’s mid-afternoon assault on southern Beaune, Pommard and Volnay; some growers are reporting to have lost up to 90% of their harvest. Most recently Bordeaux and Champagne have been the victims with last Friday’s 10 minute battering laying waste to 20,000 hectares, principally in Entre deux Mers. Previous hopes of a modest harvest are now looking wildly optimistic with some growers struggling to salvage as much as 10% of a normal crop.
For growers already under severe pressure, this could well prove to be the tipping point with the level of damage potentially affecting harvests over the next 3 years.
(Picture credit, Gavin Quinney, Chateau Bauduc)