Just 2 days ago, Solutre & Pouilly(-Fuissé) were badly hit by hail. I managed to take a tour of the vines while visiting today.
Much damage was done to the leaves and to what grapes there were – even the wood of the thicker stems was badly bruised and often snapped off towards the end of the branches. Yesterday, it didn’t look too bad as everything was still green, today the browning of the impact points had begun and I’m sure it will look even worse tomorrow.
The hail really came in a band and was accompanied by a high wind that exacerbated the damage – it just so happens that (in and around Fuissé) this band of weather followed the line of the new 1er Crus of Pouilly-Fuissé – and in only their second vintage too! As one vigneron of Fuissé described it today: “In some places there is no real drama, though we still have some effect from the hail, in other places it’s much worse and we wait for the official inspection. In these latter places, it’s clearly not just a case of this year’s losses but also how easy it will be to make our pruning for 2022 – some vines will clearly be complicated in this respect. You can see where there are puncture holes in the leaves there is generally damage to the grape clusters below too – and we’d only just, say 95%, finished the flowering too.”
Indeed, it wasn’t just a case of various grapelets taking direct impacts; the recently flowered ‘bunches’ when taking a hail impact usually break off completely or lose at least half their length – and, given the frosts of April, there was so little potential yield in the first place.
At least in Vergisson they had some luck and were not touched – but then they have already lost about 80% to the frost so…
2021 is not for the faint-hearted vigneron – particularly, so far, the producers of whites. Some images from today: