It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, as they say. However, for many vignerons in northern parts of Burgundy, the actress has finished her warm-up in the wings and is about to bring the curtain down on the 2016 vintage.
AWFUL NEWS FOR WINEMAKERS IN BURGUNDY AND THE LOIRE – extract from blog entry 28th April 2016.
Tuesday night [26 April] saw the worst damages for 25 years and even the most conservative reports suggest that 50% has been wiped out.
The worst-hit vineyards are in the Loire Valley (especially Bourgueil, Chinon and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil) and Burgundy (Chablis and all the way through the prestigious Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune) but it is in no way limited to just those particular appellations.
We saw a fair share of hail in 2015 (in parts of Burgundy and Alsace, as well in areas of northern Italy) but the devastation was nowhere to this extent. 2016 is sure to go down in history as one of the worst years on record.
Friday 27th May saw a heavy hail storm pass through the areas of Chablis, Chitry and Saint Bris (northern Burgundy), ravaging the recovering vines.
Patrick Chalmeau (Chitry) speaking to a local journalist said: “as it stands right now, we won’t be making even a litre of wine this year.”
I heard Olivier de Moor being interviewed on the television this morning. When I returned home, I saw the following photo on his Facebook page with the caption:
“So that was today. And unfortunately, it’s neither snow nor winter. Merely sad, like many others, to see this anger from the sky.”
All I needed to do was scroll a little further down my Facebook timeline to find other eye-watering photos of Chablis after the storm.
The storm was not limited to Burgundy; the Charente (where grapes for Cognac are grown) was also hit by the hail.
We’re not out of the woods just yet. The storm alerts are in place in 19 French departments until Sunday night, with Saturday supposed to be the worst day – and this time, the wrath of the storm is destined for south-west France.
The vignerons who have escaped the storms so far will be nervously monitoring the sky this weekend.