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Hail and frost hit parts of France

By Vitisphere April 15, 2019
Hail and frost hit parts of France
Just after the hail in Languedoc - crédit photo : Jérôme Despey


From April 4 to 7, Languedoc faced negative temperatures by night and in the morning as well as two hail storms and at least “three proven tornadoes” according to the Languedoc weather website. April 6 was particularly significant with intense hail in the Pic Saint-Loup area. In places, accumulations of 10 cm of hail were seen. The Gard department was badly affected with 400 to 500 ha reportedly damaged, representing a loss of 25,000 hl. The primary victim was the Heracles winery, France’s leading organic wine co-operative.

Burgundy and Beaujolais

Forecasters had correctly predicted that temperatures would plummet and in places they dropped to -4°C. Prior warning enabled winegrowers to use their protection devices. Eight villages in the Côte de Beaune area - Savigny, Chassagne, Meursault, Auxey-Duresses, Puligny and Saint-Aubin - had requested authorisation from the authorities to use straw fires, while others lit candles and wind turbines, or even heated cables and sprinklers in Chablis. Ultimately, the risks were localised in the Côte de Beaune, where canopy growth was the most advanced - at the 2 or 3 leaf stage - for Chardonnay grapes in places where the morning sun could burn the just-opened buds. According to initial reports from the region, the vines seem to have been protected.

Loire Valley

On Wednesday, April 3 a nasty cold snap ranging from -2 to -6°C in some areas spread very early on that night. “Around 1am, it was -1°C”, said an Anjou winegrower. One of his colleagues in Saumur, equipped with anti-frost towers, was alerted at 10:30 pm. “The alarm goes off at 0.4°C. It was on all night until 9:00 am”. Unfortunately, the sun then shone from 8am onwards, adding to the cold burn.

80% damage

In the westerly wine region of Nantes, frost does not seem to have spared any area and there is currently talk of 80% damage.



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