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Hail hits Burgundy vineyards again

Burgundy's vineyards are continuing their tough year, after a third hailstorm within a month damaged vines in the Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune and Hautes-Cotes-de-Nuits areas.

The upper areas of Meursault were impacted by hail on 1 August

Pierre Petitot
at the Chamber of Agriculture in the Cote d’Or told local reporters that Puligny and the upper parts of Volnay and Meursault had been badly affected by the storm on 1 August, with some winemakers losing up to 60% of their grapes.

‘The level of damage is similar to that seen in Volnay and Pommard after the hail in late June,’ said Petitot.

Hail and generally damp, humid weather during the 2012 growing season has meant treatment levels have been high in the region to avoid problems with mildew and oidium.

Since April, 400mm of rain has fallen across the region, over half the usual annual total.

Speaking in mid-July, Jacques Devauges of Domaine de l’Arlot in Nuits-Saint-Georges told Decanter.com: ‘Since April, there has not been one week without some kind of rain, making it very difficult to work the soils effectively.’

Kyriakos Kynigopoulos, a Greek oenologist based in Beaune who works with over 200 domaines across Burgundy, said he had seen similar problems in 1991 on the Cote de Nuits, and in 2001 and 2004 with Volnay and the Cote de Beaune.

‘Hail-affected grapes can leave a “metallic” character in the future wine, meaning that a draconian berry sorting after de-stemming is essential, and a shorter maceration time,’ he warned.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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