The farmland around Tours has been badly affected, with vineyards in Vouvray particularly hard hit, as well as canola crops in the area destroyed and sunflower seedlings shredded. The egg sized hailstones fell for about 15 minutes and simply shredded the vegetation, punched through slate roofs and dented cars. The vineyard workers reported finding dead rabbits and birds amongst the vines too. For some dramatic pictures of the worst of it, see the local newspaper report.
Facebook page and it was a sorry sight. We called in to see the team at Gaudrelle on Tuesday evening and Alexandre updated us about the situation.
Many of the 180 vineyards in the Vouvray appellation have been affected. A few have lost their entire crop before it had even got underway for this year. Some have probably lost about 75-80% of their crop. Most, like Chateau Gaudrelle, estimate they have lost 50-60% of this year's crop. Not many have been lucky enough to escape with under 30% losses. A few winemakers will lose their vineyards or certain parcels because the damage has been severe enough to kill the vines. The vines have many jagged wounds and the weather remains warm and wet -- a recipe for a mega-fungal outbreak if ever there was one.
This hailstorm comes in the wake of the reduced 2012 vintage. Due to poor weather all last year, most vineyards in Vouvray, and throughout the Touraine as a whole, only managed about 50% of their normal output. With two years in a row of reduced quantity, some wineries will struggle to meet their commitments to suppliers. In Chateau Gaudrelle's case, they have arranged to buy grapes from partner vineyards in Vernou-sur-Brenne (also part of the Vouvray appellation) who fortunately were not affected by the storm.
We will continue to support the Vouvray vineyards, and Chateau Gaudrelle in particular, by visiting regularly with clients and spreading the word about their great value, high quality wines.
Photo credits: All photos on this post are courtesy of Alexandre Monmousseau and Chateau Gaudrelle. They were taken by Alexandre on the Chateau Gaudrelle estate on the day of the hail storm, 17 June 2013.
Chinon and Richelieu Storms: Chinon and Richelieu have also been hit by torrential rainfall, on Wednesday, with added golf ball sized hail. The vineyards here have mostly had a lucky escape, with much less damage overall. Most of the problems around Chinon and Richelieu have been from water causing erosion and subsidence or collapse and the event has been declared a natural disaster (so insurance claims will be fast-tracked). Our friends Colin and Elizabeth posted pictures of their garden and road at Braye-sous-Faye. On Saturday our friend Annie emailed me a picture of the new water feature in their courtyard at Champigny-sur-Veude (I must say it looked remarkably like the wall had collapsed, but Annie said she was rather enjoying having a stream running through the garden!) Check out Annie's new exhibition in Berlin, by the way.
Photo courtesy of Botanical Annie.
UPDATE: L'Eminence Rouge has also blogged about it and posted pictures of flooding in Richelieu. Many flooded cellars and gardens.