This weekend brought terrible reports of a fresh round of hail storms to areas of the Cote d’Or. The Cote de Beaune was most affected with reports that a three minute storm of hail stones the size of ping pong balls ‘machine gunned’ vast swathes of vines in Pommard, Santenay and Beaune as well as causing damage to property.
The damage is still being evaluated by wine makers, however, initial reports estimate that from 50%-90% of crops in some vineyards have been destroyed. This recent storm compounds three years of devastating weather for areas of the Cote d’Or, last summer hail storms caused production to drop by 60% compared to the 2011 vintage which itself was down 20% on the 2010 vintage.
In an attempt to reduce the damage caused by summer hail storms, which is now becoming perennial, a series of cannons have been installed across the region designed to fire silver iodide into the atmosphere. Silver iodide is supposed to dissolve the hailstones into relatively harmless precipitation, while may accept the storm would have been worse without the cannons, these recent events prove Mother Nature is sadly a merciless mistress.