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Wine Spectator: Hail Shreds Vines Across Northern Bordeaux and Cognac

June 16, 2014

At 3 a.m. on June 9, hail began violently pelting Bordeaux’s northern Médoc region, as well as Cognac’s vineyards just to the north, Wine Spectator reports.“It left a corridor (of destruction) 2 kilometers wide from Lesparre to the river,” said Alain Meyre, owner of Château Cap Léon Veyrin and president of the ODG Médoc, a winery trade group whose members own 12,355 acres in the region. Lesparre lies a short distance northwest of St.-Estèphe.

Meyre told Wine Spectator that preliminary reports indicate 7,413 acres in Bordeaux were damaged by hail. The hardest hit zone covered 2,223 acres and suffered 80% to 100% crop loss. Another 494 acres lost 50% of their crop. The area is home to well-known cru Bourgeois estates as well as other wineries and growers working with the local cooperative.

While devastating for yields, the quality of the 2014 vintage is not in danger. “We’re in the flowering period, so there is no impact on the quality, only the quantity,” said Pierre Graffeuille, commercial director for the Delon family estates, which includes cru Bourgeois Château Potensac and second-growth Château Léoville Las Cases.

In the Cognac region, the warm, stormy weekend delivered two hail storms. Sandrine Cazaux, director of communications for the Charente Chamber of Agriculture said that the preliminary, unofficial tally showed damage in nearly 20,000 acres—roughly 10% of the area’s vineyards. “Some of the vineyards had 20% to 30% damage but others had 80% to 100% damage—completely destroyed, the wood shredded.”

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