Burgundy winemakers have reported widespread damage to the 2014 harvest after a five minute hailstorm destroyed vines across the region on Saturday afternoon.
Picture credit Daniel Etienne Defaix, Volnay
Estates are reporting damage affecting up to 40% of the potential 2014 harvest across Meursault, Pommard, Volnay and Beaune at the weekend after ‘golf ball sized’ hailstones struck the region, despite anti-hail measures being in place.
In Beaune, up to 90% of vines in the Clos des Mouches vineyard are thought to have been damaged by the hail.
Some 34 tube-like generators had been deployed every 10 kilometres in the storm-hit areas, shooting particles of silver iodide and copper acetylacetone into the atmosphere to stop the formation of hailstones but ‘failed to work’ according to Thiebault Huber of Domaine Huber-Verdereau and president of the Volnay Wine Council.
‘We are in shock. I do not know why they did not work; perhaps the storm was just too intense and too short for the technology to react’.
Damage thought to be in the region of between 20 and 30% was also sustained as far south as the Cote Chalonnais and in the Cote de Nuits.
The weekend’s storm has dashed hopes of a much-needed bumper 2014 crop. Unlike last year, the 2014 harvest had looked promising with a fine and even flowering and copious grapes on the vines. ‘We have lost the equivalent of two harvests over the last three years’ Huber said.
Given the compounded losses over the last three years, Huber said that some properties face financial ruin but could not estimate how many.
A meeting to discuss the storm’s full impact is taking place in Burgundy this evening.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos