Home / Viticulture / Hail hits vineyards in Provence

Hail hits vineyards in Provence

By Vitisphere May 26, 2023
Hail hits vineyards in Provence
Vineyards in the Var region of southern France went straight from serious drought conditions to severe thunderstorms. - crédit photo : Claire Scappini

torm cells crystallised into hail, sweeping across the vineyards of Provence on Friday May 12 – in the Flassans, Gonfaron and Le Luc areas – the following day around Bandol, and then on Sunday May 14 near Vidauban. Cloaked in a white mantel of hailstones and stripped of their spring time canes, vineyards looked as though they had retreated back into the depths of winter. Benoît Coste, a grower belonging to the Gonfaron co-operative winery with 30 hectares under vine, saw three hectares of his vines affected to varying degrees. He commented that in one vineyard block, all the clusters had been stripped from the vines and no leaves were left, whereas in a neighbouring plot the damage was very limited. Despite this, hail affected unusually significant areas, totalling around one hundred hectares for the co-operative. “This is not a hail-prone area. I had never seen hail here”, said Coste, who became a grower in 2007.


The hailstorms also came early and “affected several areas when normally it would only be one. I have never seen such large areas”, confirms Claire Scappini, R&D technical director with distributor Racines Sap (Perret group). Scappini, who conducted preliminary surveys to assess the damage, says that losses range from 90% right in the heart of the hail corridor to around 20% in neighbouring vineyards. Whatever the scale of the damage, “when there is access to the vineyards, the aim is to heal the wounds – using copper, calcium and silica for instance –restart the vine’s photosynthetic activity (with medicinal plants, using nettles, or a mixture of micro-nutrients), add nitrogen (to support the vines) and prepare for crown suckering (and plan for winter pruning). There is a whole host of solutions to help stimulate the vines”, stressed the consultant.


Although no estimates of consolidated harvest losses have been issued so far, “those that were affected, were severely impacted, and they will still be seeing the consequences next year”, claims the chairman of the Provence wine marketing board (CIVP) Eric Pastorino.


All Comments (0)

No comment to this article.
Vitisphere 2023 - Tout droit rserv