28 June, 2002
French summerhail are big and destructive. I have said so before, but in more theoretical terms, since the ice didn't concern us personally. Well, it does now.
Last monday a destructive belt of hail moved from Vert-Toulon and towards the villages of Bergères-les-Vertus, Vertus, Voipreux and Trécon. On the way the storm unfortunately also passed Loisy-en-Brie, and our vineyards proves this more than we like.
Rocks of ice that behaves as they please in the wild nature are sharp as broken glass, and they can fall with such strength, that they cut their way into the small berries of the grapes. Especially the grapes, that are not protected by leaves, are very exposed to danger in storms.
If the hail manages to break the protective skin of the berries, an easy entrance for disease such as mildew and botrytis - rot - is created, and the first brownish and ailing berries were obviously there, when Alain drove to the Côte des Blancs on wednesday to check the possible damages.
Case for the insurance
Now he has reported the damages to the insurance company, who will send their responsible to estimate the level of damage. We pay the first 10 percent ourselves, and somewhere around these 10 percent is where we expect to find the damages from monday. Which in the end will mean, that we will pay the storm and its damages ourselves.
We may already not have enough grapes, because the upper plot, arrived only last autumn, will not produce a lot of grapes this year. Due to disease and plants that are generally not in a great state. We have pruned the plants real hard to bring them back to something that looks like the demants for a plot with grapes for champagne. (More about grape quotas here).
The damages mean, that we will need our tractordriver to spread a chemical, that will prevent the disease, that has now been introduced in the hit berries, to spread even more.