Hail takes care of the harvest over thousands of hectares in Bordeaux

Friday May 01 2020 by Vitisphere

“The majority of vines affected are not like in this photo”, pointed out Philippe Abadie.“The majority of vines affected are not like in this photo”, pointed out Philippe Abadie. - Photo credit : Chambre d’Agriculture de Gironde

After frost and snow, the vineyards of Bordeaux have now had to contend with rain and hailstorms. Late afternoon and into the night on Friday 17 April, storm cells wrought havoc along a corridor “from the Branne area in Entre-Deux-Mers to Saint-Emilion and northern Libourne, with some strips 100% affected. The damage is very significant locally, but very variable within the same locality”, reported Philippe Abadie, director of the viticulture department of the Gironde chamber of agriculture. “In Entre-Deux-Mers, the Targon, Daignac and Grézillac areas seem to be the worst affected, with certain plots losing 100% of their crop”, confirmed Bruno Baylet, chairman of the Entre-Deux-Mers AOC wine producers’ organisation, which has yet to finalise figures showing the full impact of the storms.

The Right Bank is “in a state of total dismay. 3 to 4,000 hectares have been affected with crop losses ranging from 10 to 100% in vineyards in Saint-Sulpice de Faleyrens, Vignonet, Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Étienne de Lisse, Saint-Hippolyte, Puisseguin and Castillon”, listed Philippe Raymond, head of the technical department of the Saint-Émilion Wine Council. “For some winegrowers, whole vineyards have already been harvested. Such an intense weather event over such a large area is very rare”, said Raymond, who has no recollection of an April hailstorm having caused so much damage in the recent past.

Rainfall limited the severity of the storm

On Saturday 18 April, more thunderstorms moved up from South-West France headed for Bordeaux, reaching as far as the Médoc. “There was a big storm at the end of the afternoon in the Saint-Julien-Beychevelle appellation. But in terms of damage, there doesn't seem to have been much to date. We can see a few perforated leaves, but no vine stocks have been completely stripped and there are no broken shoots or cut inflorescences. Water limited the severity of the storm. We'll see how much damage there is in a few days’ time,” commented Benjamin Vimal, technical director of Château Lagrange (1855-classified grand cru), who now has to cope with the risk of mildew caused by more than 40 mm rainfall in just two hours.




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