A violent hail storm has destroyed over half of the Cote Rotie harvest with nearly total destruction of fruit on the vines in some vineyards.

Hail stones, the size of ‘large marbles’, according to locals, battered vineyards at 10.30pm on Wednesday night. The majority of damage occurred between the towns of Ampuis and St-Cyr-sur-le-Rhone.

Top vineyards including La Landonne and La Mouline were hit.

‘Nearly the whole appellation is affected,’ said Jean-Paul Jamet of Domaine Jamet. ‘50% of La Landonne and around 30% of the Cote Blonde has been destroyed.’

Jamet said that about a quarter of his harvest had been lost and that in some cases 90% of some parcelles had been ruined.

This was confirmed by a spokeswoman at Guigal who said that although the damage on the top producer’s vines had not been properly assessed yet, on average the Cote Rotie had lost 60% of its fruit.

‘A year’s work has gone,’ said Louis Drevon at the Domaine des Rosiers, on which 50% of the vines were damaged. ‘We’re going to try to nurse what remains.’

The producers, however, remain stoic.

‘You’ve got to take this philosophically,’ said Jamet. ‘We’ve still got some fruit, we’ll try to heal, and I’m confident for the rest of the harvest.’

Written by Oliver Styles