Truly awful hail hit southern France on Wednesday afternoon – there were similar storms in Switzerland too where the ground turned green-white – a mix of shredded foliage and hailstones. Over 1,000 hectares were ‘touched’ in the Languedoc-Roussillon, including most of Pic Saint-Loup. Judging by some of the images, there may not be anything to properly prune for 2017 – i.e. there may also be no grapes next year!
This time, at-least, greater Burgundy was spared, though anything can still happen between now and harvest time. Talking of harvest time, and based on the current state of veraison, it looks like the reds may be ready for picking from the 26 September – of-course some producers habitually wait longer. Usually the whites are picked 7-10 days before the reds, but there are some indications that this year it may only be 1-3 days before the reds. Let’s see!
Yesterday I did a little tour in Beaujolais. The big hail event for them was largely in the crus, little in the south of Beaujolais was touched; Mainly it was the area between Morgon and Fleurie, plus Chiroubles and some Juliennas. These vines were largely stripped of all growth in late May, but the rain that came with the hail was so hard, that afterwards, there was no shredded vegetation to be seen on the slopes – it had all been washed down the drains. Today they have recovered well and look quite healthy, despite being only half the size of usual for the time of year – but, unsurprisingly, I spotted only one bunch of grapes per 8 or 9 vines. It was also easy to see the impact of large hail projectiles on all the hard-wood parts of the vines!!