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French Beaujolais vines destroyed by severe hailstorms

Entire crops of Beaujolais vines in eastern France have been severely damaged by violent hailstorms with hailstones bigger than ping pong balls.

Winemakers in the Ain, Loire, Isère and Territoire de Belfort especially reported severe damage after the intense weather on Monday August 19. The storms also caused flash flooding and dangerous lack of visibility on the roads, after several centimetres of rain fell in minutes.

Bernard Dessaintjeant, winemaker in Saint-Vérand (Isère), told news source RTL: “The harvest is finished.

“It started at 2h, with hail, and then stopped. At 5h, it started again, and these were like ping pong balls; like hen’s eggs. You don’t see those kind of storms often. The wind was hitting the windows; there were fallen trees. Luckily I was indoors.”

Mr Dessaintjeant said that he did not think he would be able to continue the harvest, saying that his grapes had been “massacred”.

Vineyards in France have been especially vulnerable to extreme weather in recent years.

Earlier this year, in June, vineyards in the south of France reported severe damage due to the intense heatwave, after 45°C temperatures led some winemakers to say that their crop looked like it had been “blowtorched...literally grilled” in some places.

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