Beaujolais affected by adverse weather

The weather woes continue for many vineyards across France and Spain, which have been hit by unseasonal weather. Ideal Wine Company discuss the weather conditions hitting Beaujolais.

While the late spring frosts are finally history, unexpected weather conditions are still taking their toll. For example, some of the 2017 Beaujolais harvest looks likely to have been lost following a brutal hailstorm in mid-July.

The summer hailstorm hammered the Beaujolais region, leading to damaged crops and uncertainty for the vineyards. It’s something that will feel familiar to the vineyard owners, who suffered a similar fat in 2016. However, this year’s storms have caused more damage on a wider scale.

Ideal Wine Company damaged vineyards
Adverse weather has hit vineyards across Europe.

Beaujolais Crus worst affected

Situated up in the north, the Beaujolais Crus vineyard looks to have been one of the worst affected. The storm also hit Chiroubles, Morgon, Chenas, Fleurie, Moulin a Vent and the north of Régnié.

Fleurie is a picturesque village and was one of the worst hit, with the violence of the winds damaging not only the vineyards, but also many houses. The affect on the infrastructure throughout the villages and towns affected show the extent of the storm and the strength of the winds.

Rarely seen tornado

The president of InterBeaujolais, Dominique Piron, said: “It was a tornado. I have rarely seen this. The small hailstones and the wind have a sandblasting effect on the vines.”

The full extent of the damage is still being assessed, and it’s clear that many vineyards and people have been affected. Dominique added: “In our modern world, it is difficult to accept such a sudden event. But it is unfortunately the lot of those who work with nature.”

Run of bad weather

This year has seen a plethora of destructive weather conditions affecting vineyards across France, Spain and Italy.

Late frosts in May and early June, along with freak storms later on in the summer have led to many crops being affected. It is likely to affect both the price and the amount of wine available on shelves next year, although just how much remains to be seen.

Spanish Vineyards Recent Frost Damage

Following extensive coverage of the frost damage in Bordeaux and Champagne, it seems northern Spain is now counting the cost of the late wintery weather. Ideal Wine Company divulges into this.

Ideal Wine Company damaged vineyards
Severe weather has now hit Spain.

Severe frosts

Many vineyards in northern Spain have been decimated by severe springtime frosts with Bierzo, Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Galicia all reporting extensive damage to their vines. Representatives from two wineries in Spain were at the Continental Wines (importer from Hong Kong) annual tasting event and spoke about the damage their vineyards have suffered.

Bierzo’s Losada winery representative, Victor Quinson, said that the upper part of Rioja Alta was also affected. Frost damage was found at his vineyards in Bierzo, with around 40 per cent of the vines destroyed. He did say that vineyards at higher altitude were less affected, offering a small bit of good news. Happily, despite the inevitable cut in wine production this year, Quinson said that none of his prices will increase.

Other data from Bierzo’s Regulatory Board has disturbing news for the industry. Bierzo has formally been declared a disaster zone when it comes to its vineyards, with 70 to 80 per cent reporting extensive damage.

Multiple regions

These very late spring frosts have also affected vineyards in Galicia, which is found further to the west of Spain. It has been estimated that more than 70 per cent of Galicia’s vineyards have been affected by the severe weather, resulting in €72 million worth of damage.

Rocio Orbea de Arriba, a representative and sales manager for Valdesil in Galicia, said: “In April it was really hot and the vines started to grow. We had the buds and then we lost four hectares [in the frost] out of our 20 hectares in the area.”

Additional weather troubles

Adding to the weather-related disasters for the winery, hail storms have also further damaged their vineyards. She added: “This year it’s really tough. We will have to wait and see, maybe some of the vines can survive.”

Rioja Alvarez and Rioja Alta were particularly affected in the “worst region hit by frost in the past 20 years.”

As an example of the extreme temperatures experienced in the area, in Ribera Del Duero the mercury dipped to -5°C on 27 April 2017 for at least five hours. This spell of ultra-cold weather destroyed vines and crops across the area.

Severe frost scuppers French crops

An almost unprecedented run of plunging temperatures and frosts have hit vineyards across central and northern France. In the worst run of weather in many growers’ memories, vineyards in Bordeaux, Champagne and Burgundy have reported extensively damaged crops. Ideal Wine Company reviews.

Temperatures took a hit across all three main wine making regions in France in the last week of April. Reports from across the board show extremes of cold ranging from -7C, hitting vines hard and causing untold damage.

Weather earlier this year was much milder, encouraging early growth of fresh vines. This means the vines had taken hold and were well developed by the time the late sharp spring frosts hit, and it may not be over yet. Growers are concerned for their income and fear that another cold snap will bite before the summer arrives.

Ideal Wine Company damaged vineyards
This year’s crops have been severely damaged.

Preventative measures by wine growers

Winemakers have been using heaters, candles and even the heat from helicopter down draughts to desperately try and save their crops. But it looks like the wine harvest from France in 2017 will be one of the smallest in three decades thanks to the poor timing of the coldest weather.

Experts are reporting that the frost damage is definitely already worse than the extensive problems caused by cold weather in 2016, when the total amount of wine produced in France fell by 10 per cent. Last year the wine region of Champagne suffered the most with a 20 per cent drop in wine output and it looks to be facing a larger loss in 2017.

More crops destroyed than last year

Last year the wine region of Champagne suffered the most with a 20 per cent drop in wine output and it looks to be facing a larger loss in 2017. However, this year in Champagne, around 25 per cent of vines have been completely destroyed already, compared with 14 per cent at this time last year. And that is a conservative estimate according to experts, meaning the damage could be even more extensive.

In Bordeaux it seems there’s even worse news, with estimates coming in of several thousand hectares of destroyed vineyards thanks to the frosts. Some have been damaged between 50 and 100 per cent. Patrick Vasseur from FNSEA, the largest farm union in France, said: “Today we are likely seeing the most important freeze since 1991. And there are more frosts forecast.”

The Cognac vineyard has been similarly damaged and some vineyards were simply completely wiped out in Bugey, near Lyon. In general, low lying vineyards have been the worst affected, as cold air settles low down and therefore they’re more open to frost damage.

It’s not possible to gauge the exact range of damage as it’s unclear until shoots blacken and die. Growers are continuing to take precautions as they wait to see whether the worst is over.

A Washout Year for Italian Wines

This week the Ideal Wine Company discovered that 2014 was a washout year for Italian wines, as the Mediterranean-nation experienced one of the rainiest summers its seen in years.

The Character of Italian Wines

You can’t build a reputation as a provider of outstanding fine wines at prices consumers can actually afford without including Italy on your product list.

Bordering fellow wine-making behemoths France and Spain, Italian wines have a unique character all of their own. Shaped by the climate, terrain and weather patterns that typify the wine making regions of this peninsula-nation, Italian wines tend to prove a fantastic experience for any truly devoted wine drinker.

Wine Production Falls in 2014

Wine drinkers around the world must have been disappointed this week, as it was announced that due to a really rainy summer, the rate of Italian wine production fell in 2014.

According to Bloomberg, the news was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attache in Rome. Using estimates from the Italian Association of Enologists, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service announced that it expects Italy’s wine output to have fallen by 14% in 2014.

“Unfavourable Weather Conditions.”

This means that Italy’s wine production will have slipped to 41.6 million hectolitres in 2014. The report went on to suggest that Sicily’s wine production also fell in 2014, although this time by a larger margin of 30%.

The USDA went on to justify it’s predictions by suggesting that wine production in the Mediterranean-nation had been effected by “unfavourable weather conditions.” In other words, too much rain in the summer. If it rains too much in the summer, it can affect the taste and character of the vintage in a number of small, yet bottom-line damaging ways.

Let’s Hope Italy Has a Drier 2015!

Therefore, if in a few years’ time you find yourself looking to secure a stand-out 2014 Italian vintage, you may have a bit of a job on your hands. Considering the value of quality often seen in this small corner of the wine-making world, this news has us at Ideal Wine Company hoping that Italy’s in for a drier 2015!