Spring hail has demolished vineyards in Slovenia and Hungary.
This is the second time in as many years that the two eastern European countries have been hit by the freak weather.
‘Everything is gone. In certain spots not even a single leaf is left on the vine. No buds, nothing. It looks like winter,’ said Alojz Gaube of Slovenia’s eastern Stajerska district, who lost 6.8ha.
Nearby Vina Kuster have lost all of their 5.5ha, meaning that neither will be able to produce any wine in 2009.
Neighbouring Valdhuber winery expects to reduce its production by over half.
‘The situation is terrible. The extent of the devastation depends on where the vineyard was located but, on the average, 70% was destroyed,’ said Cene Serbinek of Vina Kuster.
‘Roofing was demolished, windows were broken, and – believe it or not – we discovered one dead chicken,’ Serbinek added.
Winemakers face the additional obstacle of insurance covering only 70% of the value, as insurance companies claim 30% represents normal harvest costs.
Local law also prevents the purchasing of grapes by small growers so, for some, there is no hope of making wine.
‘Half of the important Kopar and Erdegarok vineyards, dedicated to Bordeaux varietals, in Hungary’s Villanyi region along with up to 80% of some of the Sopron region’s parcels were decimated,’ Richard Nemes, from Wines of Hungray, told decanter.com.
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Written by David Furer