Hail devastates vineyards in Pic Saint LoupBy Darren Smith
Sudden hailstorms have devastated vineyards of domaines in the Pic Saint Loup appellation of the Languedoc this week.
Mas Thélème, owned by Fabienne and Alain Bruguière, was one of the worst-affected domaines.
Established in 2003, Mas Thélème is a 7-hectare estate in the town of Lauret which produces around 20,000 bottles a year.
Mas Thélème’s entire crop of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault was destroyed after a sudden hailstorm struck at 3pm on Wednesday 17 August – just a few short weeks before harvest.
“For us, everything is damaged. We have no more grapes,” Fabienne Bruguière told db.
Bruguière reported that the crops of three other winemakers in Lauret had also been destroyed in the storm.
Damage was also reported at nearby Château de Cazeneuve, Clos Marie and Mas de L’Oncle.
“A lot of winemakers it’s like 50%; some it’s like us,” Bruguière said. “I think it’s very, very [serious] in the surrounding [area].”
According to online wine magazine Terre de Vins, up to 60% of production in the Pic Saint Loup AOC has been affected, with the communes of Lauret, Claret, Valflaunès, Sauteyrargues and Corconne all hit.
Such was the extent of the damage to vines in Pic Saint Loup that fears were raised for the potential yields of the 2017 harvest.
The cellar manager of La Gravette de Corconne, Stanislas Perrier, told Terre de Vins that whole parcels of vines in Lauret and Claret had been destroyed, with both grape bunches and leaves stripped.
Meanwhile Samuel Guibert of the Languedoc ‘Grand Cru’, Mas de Daumas Gassac, which is located around 35km from Pic Saint Loup, in Aniane, reported on Twitter that the hail devastation had missed his estate by a mere two kilometres.
Guibert said that the hail was thought to be the worst in 50 years, with hailstones as large as 5cm in diameter causing damage across a 10-15km corridor from Lunel to Pic Saint Loup to the north-east of Montpellier.
Mas de Daumas Gassac feeling very lucky today as we barely escaped by a couple of km the most violent hail storm! pic.twitter.com/nCuWHKO55k
— Samuel Guibert (@DaumasGassac) August 17, 2016
Winemakers in the Pic Saint Loup area were reported to be meeting today in order to determine the extent of the damage.