Hailstorms Batter Burgundy

Hail storms batter Burgundy once again.

After two short vintages in the Cote’d’Or, everything looked fair for a harvest of both quality and quantity. That is until a violent hailstorm came through the southern part of the region on Saturday 28th June in the late afternoon. There were a few localised areas of the Cote de Nuits that were also subjected to the devastating weather but not nearly as much as in the southern neighbour.

Chambolle Musigny lost around 20% of the crop whilst Clos Vougeot and Echezeaux lost between 10 to 20%. However, as the quantity was looking good anyway, the harvest may come in as would an average vintage. Not so in the Cote de Beaune. The northern part of Meursault lost around 50% of the grapes, the southern part of the Beaune vineyards lost 60 to 80%. Other appellations such as Pommard and Volnay had large losses also and some smaller areas of damage were to be found in Savigny and Aloxe Corton.

It’s too early to tell just what the final damage will be in terms of crop size, but coming after two short vintages, this hail damage will do nothing to soften prices or increase allocations for the 2014 vintage.

Further south in the Cote Chalonnaise, things are looking rosier. The flowering was good as it had been through the Cote d’Or and the vines are currently in perfect health with the Aligote de Bouzeron especially looking really good. When we were there a month ago, the previous harvest was showing extremely well and so as far as quality and value for money is concerned, this is the area that will be attracting attention over the coming months.

Hugo Nuzillat from Domaine Chanzy in Bouzeron is keeping his fingers crossed that the rest of the year continues well for them and they are expecting picking to start around 10th September. Paul Vallin of Maison Champy in Beaune is less happy. Picking will start with the whites a few days earlier around 7th or 8th September but any further crop damage will potentially be disastrous for the growers and could see some of them with cash flow problems.