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VIDEO: Weekend hailstorms ravage parts of France and Italy

Published:  01 June, 2016

Over the past few days severe weather has ravaged wine regions across France and Italy and it is expected to have devastating effects on the 2016 harvest.

In France the wine regions of Chablis, Beajoulais and Cognac had severe weather which has taken a devastating toll.

Burgundy frost fires in AprilBurgundy frost fires in AprilSource:

The severe weather hit France on 30 May. 

In Cognac it has been widely reported that an estimated 8% of vineyards or between an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 hectares have been badly damaged.  

Fifteen centimetres of hail fell in just 15 minutes accompanied by 27.5 millimetres of rain.

In Beaujolais, an estimated 6% of vineyards were damaged.

Chablis, the region in the south west of Burgundy, suffered hail damage as well. The region has been hit by a number of extreme weather events throughout the crucial growing period for the 2016 harvest.

On April 27, 2016 frost hit the entire Burgundy region and according to BIVB estimates 46% of the the vineyards were damaged.  The assessment of the damage was that 23% of vineyards reported losing 70% or more of their 2016 crop

The frost damage was then followed by hail and excessive rains in the region on May 13, 2016.  The hails storm damaged 400 hectares in Chablis.

The hailstorm earlier this week wiped out up to 85% of vines on some estates, but affected 300 growers out of 112,000 ha farmed in Bordeaux.Gavin Quinney

Over the weekend Chablis was once again hit by severe weather with approximately 600 hectares being damaged.


Soft hail at Sfriso Winery in Italy on May 31

The most recent severe weather to hit France also hit parts of Italy.  At Sfriso Winery which is located about 40 km from Venice hail hit yesterday along with heavy rain. Rena Haros, the owner of Sfriso Winery, said:   "Thankfully it was soft hail, it broke some branches on our Prosecco field but nothing more. It hailed for 30 minutes and we had 45 millimetres of water in 1 hour!"

Severe weather events not only can impact the size of harvest for the 2016 vintage, but hail can do longer term damage to vines and lower yields of future harvests.