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Fine wine estate evacuated as wildfires rage south of Bordeaux

Boutique Bordeaux wine estate Liber Pater – which produces the most expensive grapes in the world –  has been evacuated as wildfires rage across the Southern Gironde, south of Bordeaux.

According to local French news sites, more than 20,000 hectares of land in the Gironde département west of Bordeaux have already been destroyed in the wildfires since last Tuesday, and more than  36,750 people evacuated.  Around 7000 hectares of pine forest has been destroyed near the Arcachon bay in one fire, with a second wildfire still burning near the town of Landiras, in the district of Langon in the Graves and Sauternes region. Around 13 600 hectares have been destroyed here since last week, and the authorities have evacuated more than 8,000 people.

It is this second fire that caused the precautionary evacuation of the Graves estates, although owner Loïc Pasquet told Decanter yesterday that so far there had been no damage to vines from either fire, or from smoke from fires nearby.

In an emailed statement this morning, CIVB told the drinks business that this morning, for the first time since the beginning of the fire, the progression of the flames in Landiras had slowed down.

According to the latest update of this morning by the Graves generic body,  for the moment the vineyards are not affected and no vines were burned and the wind direction is such that the smoke from the fires is moving away from the vineyard.

“There is, to date, no fear of the impact of the smoke,” she said. “That said, the Bordeaux wine industry is affected by these fires: many employees and staff working in the vineyard live in or near the areas affected by the fires. We give them all our support in this difficult moment for them,”

So far, it has been impossible to assess the damage, as some areas have been evacuated because of the danger of the fire and others because of the smoke. “It is particularly complicated to have a precise point on the real damage because all the evacuated areas are no longer accessible at all,” she added.

Liber Pater, which was founded in 2006, was one of the first estates in Bordeaux to begin planting grapes that were popular in the pre-phylloxera era, Castet, Marselan, and Tarney Coulant. Its wines, which include a proportion of these ancient grape varieties along with ungrafted Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot and achieved cult status as one of the rarest and most sought-after wines on the market. Yields of grapes are kept extremely low and the annual production is limited to only 200 cases or less.

Landiras is also home to the bottling plant of Les Grands Chais de France (GCF), where activity was suspended on Monday, before the site was evacuated and steps taken to limit the fire risk, according to French journal, Vitisphere .


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