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Loire 2017 vintage in trouble after frost, say winemakers

There could be fewer Loire wines around from several appellations after winemakers were among those hit by heavy frosts across Europe, and some for the second consecutive year.

Although it is still too early to have exact figures, some Loire regions and appellations have lost a significant percentage of their 2017 crop due to frost.

Unlike the historic frost of 1991, which occurred over one night, producers faced an exhausting series of frosts as they did in 2016.

The frosts occurred in the last weeks of April with particular damage on the 20th, 26th and 27th.

More on the 2017 frost

Damage varies considerably along the Loire. In the Pays Nantais (Muscadet), Savennières and Saumur-Champigny the frost is more serious than last year, while overall Indre-et-Loire department has suffered less than last year.

‘The 2017 frosts are more serious than last year with around 40%-50% of our vineyards affected, although we will not have a full picture until the end of this week,’ said François Robin, of La fédération des vins de Nantes. ‘The heart of the Sèvre-et-Maine has suffered most.’

Emmanuel Ogereau, of Domaine Ogereau, told Decanter.com, ‘Savennières was wiped out on 27th – only 10% of the crop remains and there is also severe damage in other parts of Anjou.’

‘The higher Saumur-Champigny vineyards, which are not normally frosted, were hit on 20th, while the lower ones to the west were frosted the next week, especially 27th,’ said Patrick Vadé.

‘Some producers have lost everything. The Robert & Marcel coop report a 20% loss in their 1800 hectares.’

Guillaume Lapaque, directeur at Fédération des Associations Viticoles d’Indre-et-Loire et de la Sarthe says that, ‘Overall the 2017 frost has been much less devastating in Indre et Loire than in 2016. We calculate that the loss in the département is in the order of 15%, whereas last year it was 50%.

‘There are, however, areas that have been very badly hit such as Savigny-en-Véron and Beaumont in Chinon with producers losing virtually all their crop, Azay-le-Rideau, Montlouis and Touraine Noble Joué.’

‘Pouilly-Fumé and Coteaux du Giennois have again suffered badly,” says Benoît Roumet, BIVC director along with Châteaumeillant. Fortunately Menetou-Salon escaped this year, while only the northern part of Sancerre around Ste-Gemme got caught. 80% of Quincy is protected by wind machines and no significant losses in Reuilly.’

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