I just got off the phone with a grower in Beaune – I’d called to get a bit more information on the flavenscence d’orée insecticide spraying ‘story’ – in the background I could still hear the remnants of the thunder-storm. The temperature was now just 18°C – 1 hour ago it had been well over 30°C – that was before the storm hit.
Like last year, hail has ripped through the vines from Volnay to Savigny; further south I’ve no info yet; further north, the Côte de Nuits experienced only about 1mm of rain and no hail. I’m not sure where the border lay – was it Savigny or Corton? – we’ll know later…
The grower said he called somebody in the vineyards, and the hail on their tractor cab sounded like gunshots. He then drove towards Pommard and said it was like somebody was throwing rocks at his car and the roads were all flooded – there were even fallen trees in the roads. He visited Beaune Grèves and said he was almost frightened to see the quantity of water coming down the vineyards towards his car, all boiling and brown. The scene was apparently apocalyptic, with leaves strewn about the ground. A quick glance in the heavy rain made him think losses could be 50% – he heard from growers in Savigny and Volnay who said 60-90% losses. They are all a bit emotional right now as very many in the Côte de Beaune desperately needed a good volume this year. A better idea of losses will come with the new light tomorrow, and when the emotions have dimmed a little.
I would have added some of the photos that are now filling facebook and twitter – but it just seems too voyeuristic. As for the insecticide discussion, we put that to bed – the leaf-hoppers will anyway have been drowned…
A subsequent note from ‘a man in Aloxe’:
As you know, hail yesterday at c. 4pm was both widespread and intense – almost exclusively in the Cote de Beaune.
I spoke with a few people we work with this morning. In northern Meursault and especially throughout Volnay and Pommard ( serious and widespread in both villages ) , Savigny ( several village plots and Les Lavières ) and the Beaune vineyards ( Beaune Premier Crus – Bressandes, Greves, Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Avaux too ).
Re. the point you raise in Big Red Diary about where the border lay, I would say right about here on north side of Aloxe-Corton. I was in Aloxe-Corton all of yesterday afternoon and we seemed to be on the cusp of the weather with a lot of torrential rain but little powerful hail – our village plot of Les Caillettes is fortunately fine, but behind us further up the hill of Corton there is some damage.