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Three-minute storm wrecks wine crop

Hail “machine-gunned” vineyards in Burgundy, leaving winemakers counting cost for third year in a row

FOR THE third year in a row, hail has devastated the vineyards of Burgundy, leaving many winemakers fearing for their futures.

Growers have been counting the cost of a violent three-minute hailstorm that, one grower said, “machine-gunned” parts of Côte de Beaune and may have damaged between 50 and 90% of the crop in some vineyards in the prestigious wine-growing areas of Pommard, Santenay and Beaune.

This video, from BFMTV, reveals the extent of Saturday’s storm in Cote D’Or.

Even the use of more than 30 “hail cannons”, which fire silver iodide into the clouds to dissolve hailstones, failed to completely protect the vines.

The president of the association representing Pommard growers, Jean-Louis Moissenet, said the storm was “a catastrophe”.

Fellow Pommard grower Anne Parent said that all the premier crus had been ravaged in the storms, and added that she feared for future crops after vineyards were damaged for a third year in a row and for the sixth time in 12 years.

But Thiébault Huber, president of Volnay appellation, said the situation would have been even more severe had the silver iodide generators not been used.

The extreme weather also affected Bordeaux’s Fete des Vins, with Saturday evening’s events cancelled due to the conditions.

In 2013, hailstorms wiped out as much as 60 percent of the vintage, but vineyards had been in ideal condition this year for a crop that many growers hoped would be high in quantity and quality.

Photo: Mike Myers

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