Weather: Violent hail wipes out wine production in south-west France

Storms are forecast to continue for much of the country throughout the week

Close up of a hand touching hail and destroyed plants with, inset, weather map of France
The violent hail destroyed thousands of hectares of wine production in some areas
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Thousands of hectares of vines have been destroyed by hail - devastating production in some areas - as lingering storms continue to buffet much of France.

The stormy weather lingering over France since May 15 has resulted in impressive scenes, including a tornado in northern France and ‘red sprites’ on the southern coast near Nice.

However, it also devastated wine production in many areas including in the Var (Paca) last week.

On Sunday, a brief but violent hail storm struck near Limoux in Aude.

Local vignerons in Limoux told France 3 that over 1,000 hectares were damaged by the hail, with up to 100% of production lost.

“This is the harvest that was due in September, which should be making money next year. But now we’ll have no money coming in in 2025, zero,” one vigneron told France 3.

The temperamental spring weather has already caused vignerons many headaches around France with production already hampered by severe frosts in April.

The vignerons in Aude told France 3 they will attempt to get state help to cover their losses.

Dramatic scenes in Dijon

In Dijon, the hail struck the town centre with a spectacular force on Monday (May 20), resulting in a thick slurry of rain and hail flowing through the streets.

Once the short-lived spring storm had cleared, residents were left with a layer of hail several centimetres deep lining the streets.

The French weather service Météo France placed Gironde and Charente-Maritime on high alert due to the danger of flooding on Monday, however no widespread problems have been reported.

When will the stormy weather settle?

The outlook for the coming days is still mixed according to Météo France, with localised storms forecast around the country until Friday.

A spell of more settled weather is forecast to arrive from May 24.

Click on the arrow to scroll through the Météo France images below to see what is forecast for the rest of this week.