Hail wreaks havoc in Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais

Violent hailstorms over the weekend have wreaked havoc in Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais, with one producer describing the situation as “apocalyptic”.

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The hailstorms, which swept through parts of Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais last Friday 27 and Saturday 28 May, have caused severe damage to vineyards.

Fierce hail has damaged vines in the Chablis communes of Chichée, Courgis and Préhy. While the full extent of the damage is not yet known, France’s national farming federation, FNSEA, has declared a ‘state of catastrophe’ in the worst hit areas.

This isn’t the first hailstorm to cause havoc in Chablis this year – the region was blighted by hail in early May and suffered from late spring frosts in April.

In Beaujolais the damage was concentrated in the north of the reion, where some plots in the Beaujolais Cru village of Chiroubles were completely destroyed.

Cognac was also heavily hit, with around 7% of its vineyards (around 6,000 hectares of vines) affected by the storms that saw 15cm of hail fall in 15 minutes.

According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), the intensity of the storm “caused considerable damage to varying degrees” and will lead to a smaller 2016 harvest.

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