David Rossignol of Rossignol-Trapet, in his Gevrey 1er Combottes vines in May this year…
In case you missed it – because I did!
On June 20, 2018 the use of anti-hail nets was allowed by the INAO for vines producing AOC / AOP wines – but the word only started to drip out into the press this week.
The decision concerns “vertical single-row” nets that are placed on both sides of the vines. Such an approach was not just (previously) prohibited for wines of appellation, it was also criticized for its visual aspect or ‘lack of authenticity’ – there’s no denying the latter – but to have some grapes is better than to have none!
Following multiple vintages of heavy hail, the Confederation of Appellations and Winemakers of Burgundy (CAVB) obtained authorization in 2015 from the INAO to make a three-year study of anti-hail nets on thirty hectares of vines, dotted around Burgundy. The study of the INAO concluded that a net has “only a very limited influence on the mesoclimate of the vine and does not artificially or substantially modify the fundamental characteristics of the natural environment concerned – this type of equipment is therefore compatible with production in AOC.” There is one caveat; “the presence of the nets must be limited in time, so as to limit the effect of shading.”
“The results of this study showed that such nets did not affect the maturity of the grapes, the stages of development of the vine or the quality of the wines“, said Christine Monamy, of the Technical Bureau of the BIVB, which has participated in the experiment with the chambers of agriculture of the region.
The study done in Burgundy is valid for all appellations in France – so whilst each appellation can now use nets, each of the appellations must first apply to use nets – very French! Apparently some modifications to the nets have been requested by the INAO so it will take a little more time before you see a wider deployment.