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Cahors loses 60 to 70 % of its crop to frost

By Vitisphere May 13, 2019
Cahors loses 60 to 70 % of its crop to frost
“The clusters do not look good in the vineyards. It is difficult to know what the outcome will be”, comments Philippe Bernéde. - crédit photo : DR

n May 5 and 6, temperatures plummeted to -4°C in the vineyards of Cahors, causing frost whose magnitude appears to be increasingly significant. According to the latest estimates, 3,500 hectares were affected, from the banks of the river to the plateau, causing 60 to 70% of crop losses. “This is a little less than the 2017 frost (causing 80% losses), but it's still catastrophic. After shatter in 2013 and frost in 2017, this will be the third small harvest in six years. That’s every other year!” said an appalled Pascal Verhaeghe, chairman of the Cahors wine marketing board (UIVC), adding, "Every day, we see more damage than the day before”.

Unpleasant surprise

We thought we were doing all right. But it took three days to see the clusters that we thought were unharmed go brown... they turn brown and soon fall”, said devastated winegrower Philippe Bernéde from Clos la Coutale. Morale in the vineyards of Cahors is at its lowest and growers are concerned that crop losses could get even worse. “We're not very optimistic”, sighs Maurin Bérenger, chairman of the Cahors producers’ organisation, pointing out that “the vines were at an advanced stage. It is unlikely that there will be any secondary buds coming through. And Malbec being very sensitive, there is a high risk of shatter... The priority is to preserve the grapevines so that they can be successfully pruned and grow well in 2020.” With 300 ha already affected by hail on April 25, the situation is likely to be critical for many areas.




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