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Vineyards affected by wild fires

Over the past few days, fierce bush fires have swept through the Var department in southern France. In Ramatuelle, Domaine La Tourraque suffered severe damage.
By Vitisphere August 04, 2017
Vineyards affected by wild fires

t the end of July, the Var department was engulfed in flames with several wild fires affecting the areas around Ramatuelle, La Croix-Valmer, Bormes-les-Mimosa and La Londe des Maures. In Ramatuelle, the inferno reached Domaine La Tourraque on the evening of July 24. Usually vineyards act as a barrier to fire, but plots located on the edges of forests, reed beds and streams suffered damage.

Smoke taint

Heat and smoke damaged rows of vines along the edges. In some vineyards, the first ten rows have lost all their leaves. In areas where the fire was very close, the grapes that were in the midst of veraison burst. I also have some smoke taint on the clusters”, said a dejected Guillaume Craveris. It is difficult to ascertain the extent of the damage at the moment. “All the vineyards are affected by at least 5 to 10%. I have at least four hectares out of a total 30 ha under vine where I don’t think the grapes will ripen”, explains the wine grower. Another problem is that, because the forests were destroyed, wild boar, foxes and birds have sought refuge in the vineyards. “Usually, everything is fenced in but we opened up the fences for the firemen. A lot of trees also fell on the fences and animals are going through the holes to forage for food in the vineyards. It will take a lot of work to put everything back”.

Embers were flying 50 metres high

The fire did not reach the winery but destroyed a lot of equipment. “I saved a tractor and a processing tank but the rest was either partially or totally burnt. It was so windy that embers were flying 50 metres high”. His parents lost their home to the fire, adding more heartbreak for the family.

Experts travelled to the area on July 27 to assess the extent of the damage.

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