By Julian Robinson
28 May 2018
Thousands of hectares of vines ruined as hailstorm lashes southwestern France
Vineyards were hit in famous Medoc and Cotes de Bourg regions on Saturday
Comes a year after Bordeaux region suffered one of its worst harvests in history
Two women suffered serious injuries after being hit by lightning in Germany
Pebble-sized hailstones have destroyed vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region during ‘unprecedented’ storms in France.
Thousands of hectares of vines have been ruined, including in the famous Medoc and Cotes de Bourg regions, after hail lashed the country’s south west over the weekend.
Footage shows fields and streets turning white during fierce ice storms on Saturday.
It comes just a year after the Bordeaux region suffered one of its worst harvests in history with a fall of 39 per cent on year due to late frosts, which lead to a jump in prices.
Meanwhile, two women in their early 20s have suffered serious injuries after being struck by lightning in the western German city of Bochum while out walking. One had to be resuscitated by paramedics at the scene on Sunday night.
Pebble-sized hailstones have destroyed vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region during ‘unprecedented’ storms in France. Pictures show leaves in tatters in a vineyard in Cognac
The hail in France first hit the south of the region on Saturday at midday, affecting the Pessac-Leognan region and the south of Medoc, home to some of the region’s most famous chateaux, Bernard Farges, head of Bordeaux producers’ union CIVB, said.
It then devastated vineyards of Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye on the right bank of the Gironde river and, further east, in the Gensac and Pessac-sur-Dordogne.
The vineyard of Cognac was also hit by hail. Officials mention an initial figure of 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres)affected out of a total 70,000 hectares.
They had also been affected by frosts last year.
‘The figures…which will have to be refined, show that between 500 and more than 1,000 wine growers have been affected with a area hit of 1,000 hectares in the Medoc, between 4,000 and 5,000 hectares for Cote de Blaye and Cote de Bourg and about 1,000 hectares in the vicinity of Gensac’, Farges told Reuters.
Some winemakers lost 100 percent of their harvest, he said.
Thousands of hectares of vines have been ruined, including in the famous Medoc and Cotes de Bourg regions, after hail lashed the country’s south west over the weekend
There are 112,000 hectares of vines in the entire Bordeaux vineyard, the second-largest wine producing region in France after Languedoc Roussillon.
Last year France’s total production had fallen to a record low due to a series of poor weather incidents including spring frosts, drought and storms that affected most of the main growing regions including Bordeaux and Champagne.
Bordeaux wine prices rose 16 percent in the first six months of the 2017/18 season, farm ministry data released in March showed.
Meanwhile, western and central Germany saw heavy storms on Sunday, flooding roads and basements.
Firefighters in the state of Hesse rescued two women who were trapped in their car by a mudslide.
Dozens of flights were cancelled at Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest, because of storms.
Germany and other parts of Europe have been experiencing an unusually long stretch of very warm weather in May.
Meteorologists predict temperatures in Germany will hit 33C (91.4F) this week.