Bordeaux's main white wine growing region, Entre-deux-Mers, has been hit by a massive hailstorm damaging about 4,000 hectares of vines with many producers losing almost their entire crop.
Vines stripped bare in Entre-Deux-Mers near St-Léon and Espiet, credit: Gavin Quinney
President of the Entre-deux-Mers Winegrowers Union (Syndicate Viticole de l’Entre-deux-Mers), Stéphane Defraine, said the Friday evening storm cost growers about ‘€20 million at the very least’.
‘It lasted about 15 to 20 minutes where I was, longer in other parts, and about 4,000 hectares were destroyed,’ Defraine said.
Currently growers are assessing the full extent of the damage, he said, to see what, if anything, might be salvageable, while exploring the possibility of government aid and zero-rated loans to help manage the financial impact.
Growers in the worst hit areas said their vines were stripped bare by the hailstorm. News agency AFP reported that the hailstones, some of which were as large as cricket balls, killed birds.
One of the best-known producers in Entre-deux-Mers, Chateau Bonnet, was severely hit by the storm. ‘We lost about 280 hectares out of a total 300,’ said owner André Lurton. The estate produces about 1.5 million bottles of white and 1 million bottles of red a year.
The storm is the second to hit the Bordeaux region in as many weeks, with strong winds and heavy rain battering vineyards in the Medoc in late July, notably at Chateau Lafite where willow trees were uprooted.