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Hailstorms hit Beaujolais and Cognac

Par Vitisphere Le 14 juillet 2017
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Hailstorms hit Beaujolais and Cognac

he weather forecast said it would happen and it did: on July 10, late afternoon, hail struck vineyards in Beaujolais and Cognac. In Beaujolais, the storm swept across the appellation area of certain growths, following the same path as two separate storms last year. Dominique Piron, chairman of the region’s wine marketing board, said: “The hail stones were small which suggests that the anti-hail protection system worked quite well”. Damage is nevertheless significant due to the fact that for a few minutes there was also a mini tornado. “This caused a ‘sandblast’ effect on the vines”, explained Piron. The consequences were heartbreaking.

A double whammy in Cognac

In Cognac, between 300 and 400 hectares of vines were affected by hail on July 10, with varying degrees of intensity. The worst affected area is “right in the heart of the area that was hit by frost in April”, said Alexandre Imbert, director of the producers’ organisation. It was therefore a double whammy for wine growers and will cause a drastic decrease in harvest potential this year.

Vineyards will have to be insured”, added Imbert. Less than 30% of wine growers in the Cognac region have insurance for their vineyards. The producers’ organisation has been working hard on the issue so that growers finally accept that there is no other option. “We can secure policies with an excess of 10% that only cover the climatic events we experience in Cognac, namely frost and hail”, said Imbert. All that needs to be done now is to ensure that wine growers sign the contracts…

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