Hail and heavy rain have caused at least some damage to several vineyards in Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits, mostly in the communes of Prémeaux-Prissey and Nuits-St-Georges.
Violent storms with hailstones struck vineyards in the early afternoon of Tuesday 3 July, marking the latest episode of a recurring theme for Burgundy winemakers in the last few years.
‘It is mainly the southern part of the appellation that is affected, from the Prémeaux-Prissey region to south of Nuits-St-Georges,’ said Thibault Liger-Belair, of the eponymous winery.
‘There were no strong winds and the hailstones were medium,’ he added. ‘We are about 40% affected on Nuits-St-Georges, especially on the 1er Cru Les St-Georges.’
Alongside hail, nearly 71mm of rain fell within minutes, imposing significant stress on vines already affected by many outbreaks of mildew.
‘We sprayed valerian on the vines [the estate is managed according to the principles of biodynamic cultivation] and we will return with chamomile and willow tomorrow,’ said Liger-Belair.
‘It’s a bit like giving the vineyard a big hug after this stress.’
Grégory Gouges, from the Domaine Henri Gouges, was also affected by the storm.
‘It’s difficult to assess the damage at this stage,’ he said, adding that, in general this year, the domaine’s vineyard plots have developed ‘beautiful grapes and a little coulure’.
Vine leaves can provide some protection from hail at this point in the growing season.
‘If the hail has impacted 80% of the plots of St-Georges, Vaucrains and Les Chênes Carteaux [as some initial estimates suggest], this risks reducing yields by 30% on those plots,’ said Gouges.
‘We now have to face the risk of botrytis, and we will wait until the berries are dry before going out to treat the vines with clay and then copper at the end of the week.’
Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echézeaux, Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin further to the north were not affected by this hailstorm.