Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc




En français

2016 has provided one problem after another. On Wednesday August 17th a hail storm hit Puimisson and the surrounding area. It was very violent and very localised, seeming to have taken a path from east to west across La Garrigue, Sainte Suzanne /Metaierie (worst hit) and on to Segrairals.



The damage is obvious when you look at the vines: holes in the leaves like bullet holes; stalks bruised making the bunch unstable on the vine; grapes flailed, beaten and emptied or dashed to the ground.

The amount of damage depended often on the direction of the vine row. Those planted east to west were damaged on the end but the hail fell mainly down the rows. However, those planted north to south faced directly into the hail and suffered damage especially those facing east, the direction from which the storm came. Thus if you look at the rows vegetation on one side looks thrashed, the other side looks normal.


Damaged easterly facing (right), undamaged facing west (left)

The damage means that the vendanges will start a few days earlier than expected as the grapes need to be harvested. Jeff sprayed the affected vines with a tisane of wild rosemary, arnica, propolis and tea tree. All of these are used to treat bruises and cuts in humans as well as plants. The idea was to help to heal the grapes and it seems to have worked well.

After a year of no frost, drought, snails, mildew and vers de la grappe 2016 kept this surprise until late in the day.


Mildew damages bunch, the black stalk will break soon

However, as Jeff said as we toured the vines, compared to others around Pic St Loup he got off lightly. Vineyards there were ruined by hail the same afternoon. The photos below show the horrific damage done at Mas Thélème in Pic St Loup.

Indeed there was one benefit to the storm. 70mm of rain fell in an hour and the rain was much needed. The grapes have swollen with juice as a consequence and the amount of extra wine gained by the rain will more than compensate for the losses due to hail.


Healthy Cinsault grapes

Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

4 thoughts on “Hail

  1. Glad to hear that Jeff wasn’t affected too badly, overall. Such a shame for Pic-Saint-Loup growers. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alan, did you hear about the new drones which pluck hailstones out of the sky? They are called “hail seizer”.

    Can see why you sensibly avoid puns…

    Not to make light of this scourge of the farmer.

    Any news on the git who trashed Jeff’s trees? Recovering in hospital?


  3. Hadn’t heard of that David no. Surely a heavy hail storm would thresh the drone? The hail around PSL was huge.
    Jeff made a formal complaint and there will be a scheme to hopefully deter any future incidents.


  4. Pingback: Nature can be harsh – Part 1: Weather | amarchinthevines

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