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Port producers take stock of hail damage

Severe hail storms that swept through the Douro’s vineyards are reported to have destroyed up to 80% of port wine crops in some areas - but port producers have said the extent of the devastation is less than first predicted.

Last Wednesday’s storms destroyed more than 4,200 acres of the port wine crop in 17 parishes in northern Portugal, the Portuguese Agriculture Ministry said on Friday.

However top port winemakers said yesterday that the damage is not as widespread as initially thought, with the storms confined to the east of Pinhão area (Pinhão, Ervedosa do Douro and some parts of São João da Pesqueira).

‘The likely loss of production to the whole region will be between 10% and 20% as a direct result of the storm,’ Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor’s Port, said in a statement.

Paul Symington, joint managing director of Symington Family Estates said, `It is likely and to be hoped that the actual damage is not as widespread as initially reported, although some have undoubtedly been hit hard.’

Filipe da Mota Neves, of Wines of Portugal said, ‘I very much doubt that this will affect the region’s port production dramatically. However, as always, smaller producers will be the ones that lose out.’

The Agriculture Ministry says it can only consider compensation for producers after the total damages have been assessed this week.

Written by Libby Banks

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