Hostile weather wreaks havoc in Bordeaux and Champagne





A spate of serious storms has caused significant damage to some of the most iconic vineyards in Bordeaux and Champagne.

Some chateaus in the Medoc were battered by high winds and hail storms, with the roof at Pichon Longueville Lalande sustaining substantial damage, while the willow trees at Lafite Rothschild were entirely uprooted. The vineyards of Arveyres, Vayres and Génissac on the Right Bank have endured severe damage from hail stones with the latter, which is entirely under vine, experiencing the worst of it. The Wine Spectator suggests that growers from the acutest hit areas are requesting disaster relief funds from the government.

Chateau Larteau was so badly hit that wine growers from the Vayres region are fearful they may not even have a harvest this year, while even those spared from the most hostile aspects of the weather admitted yields are likely to be unusually low.

Elsewhere, St. Emilion in the Dordogne region was not as badly hit but Philippe Durand-Teyssier, president of the local wine syndicate and owner of Château Viaud-Lalande, suggested they too suffered.

Speaking to Wine Spectator Magazine, he said: "Trees are down, we didn't have electricity for three days and hail hit 10 to 15 percent of the vineyards. The vineyards suffered, but less than you might think. And it was nothing as dramatic as elsewhere in France."

The revered region of Champagne seems to have to the bore the brunt of the unseasonably bad weather. Winds surpassed 60mph on July 27 in Verzenay, while Cumiere and Ay were decimated by flooding.

Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, of Champagne Louis Roederer, told the aforementioned source: "We have had a succession of serious storms over the past five days with strong local winds and lots of rains,"

"Last but not least, we have suffered hail damage on Friday morning with some damages between 10 to 20 percent in Cramant, Chouilly and part of Avize. We also have had some hail on Cumiere and Hautvillers, with about 10 percent losses."

The vast majority of the damage sustained in the last fortnight was done to the topsoil, although yields have been reduced, prior to the weather crops had been predicted to be larger than normal.
 
MAIN IMAGE by Andy Davy
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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