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Bordeaux: serious mildew risk

The danger of mildew in Bordeaux may be higher than in 1988 – the worse known year to date.

The Bordeaux Technical Institute of Vines and Wine (Institut Technique de la Vigne et du Vin, ITV) has issued a maximum risk alert to growers.

‘I would say the risk is worse than last year and equal to, or possibly stronger than 1988,’ said the Institute’s Marc Raynal.

Raynal said the simulated risk, calculated using specialised software programmes, for 9 June was 20%, rising to 40% for today, 16 June.

On the ground, the results of controls taken on untreated vines last week showed a 20% to 30% risk of contamination. ‘I am worried because the full situation, like last year, will only reveal itself in the coming weeks,’ Raynal said.

Chateâu owners are also concerned, given the problems last year and the current weather pattern – warm and wet and ideal for mildew – but say with the necessary treatments, outbreaks are under control.

‘We are being very vigilant this year, after the problems in 2007,’ said Nicolas Heeter of Chateau Nairac in Sauternes. Heeter said up to now, he had done about the same number of anti mildew treatments as last year.

A top wine vintage in Bordeaux is said to require about 600 to 700mm of rain, and the Bordeaux weather office reported that already this year a total of 470mm fallen.

Temperatures for May were also slightly higher at 17 degrees, compared to the average of 15.4 degrees.

Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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