Hail storms fell across the Bordeaux region this week causing widespread damage to vines in Margaux and St-Emilion.
The hail, which in some cases measured 3cm to 5cm across, fell in separate storms on 11 and 13 May. In most cases, the storms lasted only 20 minutes.
Widespread damage has been reported in the Medoc, particularly around Margaux and Moulis.
In St-Emilion, Chateau Angelus reported hail damage for the first time since 1999. There are also reports of severe damage around the vineyards of chateaux Canon, Haut Sarpe and Trotteveille.
Official reports say that up to 3,000ha of vines have been affected in St-Emilion.
‘We will know more after flowering how much potential fruit has been lost, but at this stage it can only affect the quantity, not quality,’ said Angelus winemaker Emmanuelle Fulchi.
In other Bordeaux regions, the storms caused severe damage.
‘At the speed at which they dropped, they chopped everything to meat,’ Michael Affatato of Chateau La Gatte in St Andre de Cubzac told decanter.com. ‘It is still too early to ascertain the damage caused, but on one plot of 1.5ha (hectares) we lost around 80%.’
Chateau La Rose Bellevue in the Blaye area of the Cotes de Bordeaux reported damage to over 40ha of their 45ha estate.
‘The Syndicate of Blaye is helping the winemakers with their insurance claims – although not many of us are insured,’ said estate director Valerie Eymas. ‘We are going to have to rent vines or buy in grapes from other vineyards to be able to supply our clients’.
Persistent rain now falling in the Bordeaux region is also making it increasingly difficult to treat the damaged vines.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux