After the Burgundy area a few weeks back (see the article: Burgundy wine growers fight against hail), it’s the Aude’s turn to be pelted by hail on Sunday the 6th of July. It is estimated that some 15 000 hectares (37 000 acres) of vines where hit, in the space of fifteen minutes, by violent thunderstorms, notably the AOC Minnervois and Malepère.
The Aude’s chamber of agriculture president, Mr. Philippe Vergnes, sustains that 21% of the vines have been destroyed by hail, representing the loss of almost 1 million hectoliters. (26,500,000) Gallons.
The president of the Minervois Cru, Mr. Philippe Coste, has announced that the sun could limit losses; the warmth would dry up the grape and help in healing the plants as well as dying up the soil, allowing the access to the vines by the grower in order to treat the wounds against disease such as Botrytis. Nevertheless, a few days will be needed, in order to observe the evolution of the surviving grapes.
The first step is to evaluate the amount of the prejudice and to take appropriate measures to help the wine growers, starting by identifying the exploitations that have been affected. According to Mr. Philippe Vergnes, only 30% of the vineyards are insured and of these 15 to 20 % are badly insured.
A month ago a demand for help has been passed on to the government in order to improve the insurance policies against hail. After the Bordeaux region, a month ago, the Burgundy 15 days ago and now it’s been the turn for the Aude region to suffer. Let’s hope that the thunderstorms will calm down in the following months…

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