It is the time of deleafing in the vineyards where leaves are plucked from the Eastern side that is exposing the grapes to the morning sun (but leaving them on the Western side where the afternoon sun might scorch the grapes).
The cold wet spring has caused a persisting two week delay in the vineyards, eventual uneven ripening in the Merlot (due to Coulure and Millerandage) with many pink and aborted green small berries to be dealt with and reduced yields for the 2013 vintage. The delayed harvest increases the risk of autumn rain affecting quality particularly for the late ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.
Heatwave followed by Violent Storms
Ten days or so of very hot températures (maximum of 37°C) followed by violent storms at around midnight on Saturday morning (July 27) over Bordeaux.
Pauillac experienced winds of 165km/hr with widespread damage to trees, chimneys but little damage to the vineyards. Possibly helped by the Hail Canon located in St Julien.
Château Lafite stripped
The thick Willow trees that protect Château Lafite from view (apart from a little window break which enables the passing onlooker to see the famous château frontage that appears on its label) have now been savagely felled by the storm and the château is there naked for all to see.
Hail storms South of Libourne that ocurred in an arc from Genissac (Entre Deux Mers) to Arveyres (Graves de Vayres) then on to th centre of Libourne and Néac (Lalande de Pomerol) and some in Pomerol (5% loss at Château Petit Village) with leaves being stripped and the wood of the vines wounded in the worst cases. Golf ball sized hail stones falling on the centre of Libourne smashing windscreens and denting cars.
Last week (July 24) hail destroyed vineyards in the Côte de Beaune with heavy losses in Volnay, Pommard and Meursault which will even have an effect on next year’s harvest (2014). In the north of Pommard, 70 percent to 90 percent of vines were damaged, while 30 percent to 70 percent suffered in southern Pommard and neighboring Volnay.
Earlier in the year hail destroyed crops in Vouvray in the Loire with losses reported to be around 90%.