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Blizzard wrecks vines in Italy’s Abruzzo wine region

A heavy storm has destroyed thousands of hectares of vines in Italy's Abruzzo wine region, including those belonging to celebrated producer Valentini.

Photo credit: Consorzio Tutela Vini D’Abruzzo

Rain, snow and strong winds swept through Abruzzo last weekend, causing 2,000ha of the region’s 32,000ha of vines to be lost.

Most of the damage occurred in the provinces of Pescara and Chieti.

The storm began with a bout of heavy rain that saturated the ground and was followed by 50 centimetres of snowfall.

The region’s vines – many of which are planted to the traditional ‘pergola’ system, which sees the vine trained fairly high with cordons in four directions – were still in leaf after a mild autumn.

Snow piled up on the canopies and pulled their wooden trellises down. After the snowfall,160-km winds arrived, in many areas uprooting vines or shearing them at ground level.

Francesco Valentini, whose Trebbianos are regularly rated among Italy’s top white wines, was quoted in a rare interview with Italian media as saying he lost up to half of his vines, many of them irreplaceable old vines.

‘Beyond his personal loss, he is angry that the regional authorities took so long to react to this disaster,’ said Alessandro Bocchetti, an Abruzzese wine critic. ‘But, he is determined to keep producing wine and to replant in the traditional way that characterises his regions’ wines.’

Written by Carla Capalbo

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