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Bordeaux assesses hail damage

After the ‘unprecedented’ hailstorm in Bordeaux, winemakers look at the potential damage in the vineyards...

Bordeaux assesses hail damage

A combined 7,100 hectares were affected by two hailstorms on 26th May, including 3,400 hectares that were 80% destroyed.

The Bourg and Blaye regions were the most heavily damaged, followed by Médoc, Entre-deux-Mers, and Pessac-Léognan.

In Pessac-Léognan, the hailstorm was particularly violent at Martillac, near the plateau of Rochemorin, where some vines were extensively damaged.

Guillaume Pouthier from Château les Carmes Haut-Brion said, ‘We were hit on the vines of Martillac, but luckily our urban vineyard, where our winery is located, was not damaged.’

Almost the entire vineyard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte was hit by the hail.

‘We were hit pretty hard, more on the white grapes than on the red,’ explained Fabien Teitgen, the technical director at Smith Haut Lafitte, told Decanter.com.

‘Eighty per cent of the vineyard is affected. We do not yet know the consequences on the grapes. We’re not going to prune again because we have a vegetative growth and we still have grapes, so we’re going to let things go,’ he added.

The hailstorm crossed Bordeaux towards the Médoc, where it fell on Château d’Agassac, Château La Lagune, and also Château Cantermerle.

‘It is impossible to tell precisely the volume of loss, as a significant portion of the branches are still in place and not all leaves are broken. Let’s say that the area affected by the storm covers about 40 hectares out of the 92 hectares in production on the estate,’ Philippe Dambrine, general manager of Château Cantemerle, told Decanter.com.

‘The most complicated thing now is to manage for next year,’ said Jean-Luc Zell ,general manager of Château d’Agassac.

‘The damage on the branches is significant and we will need quality branches to be able to prune correctly.’

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