08 July, 2001

Hail killed the crop

Vines at the village Thil, Massif Saint-Thierry. Everything is lost in hailstorms.

At lest 2400 hectares of vines have been destroyed by hailstorms in the last week.

Today we drove to the Massif Saint-Thierry, which is placed more or less opposite us on the range of hills, that as a broken horseshoe is squattered around Reims. This is where the vineyards are.

We find some of the destroyed vines outside the villages Thil and Saint-Thierry, and they sure are convincing. Just compare the picture above with the one below. Until the night between July 4th and 5th there were as many and green leaves and grapes on the vines above as on the ones below.

We still hope and expect that our vines look like this. The most violent storms seem to have stayed away from our area.

Where the destruction is as bad as this, there is no hope to save anything to harvest this year. The grapeharvest is called off. The only thing you can do is to spray chemicals to prevent fungus. In this way at least the proper tree - all that has been left here - will be in a condition fit to be pruned next winter.

In the vineyard we checked just before Saint-Thierry the owner did not spread the chemicals - too depressed maybe - and the fungus is already developing fast. It has the perfect conditions, first lots of water and now warm weather. You see the fungus as white marks on what is left of leaves and stems.

What is left of the little grapes has begun to rot.

The owners will probably get money back from the insurance, so they should not suffer economically. Also it does not so far seem that there will be any lack of grapes. It is just a very sad sight and another reminder how fragile the balance is and how dependent you as a farmer are on the caprices of naturer.

På dansk

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