Fire and Ice in Bordeaux Vineyards – vintage 2020

Following scares of frost damage the week before last (start april) now unlucky wine producers have had to face losses due to a freak hail storm on Friday afternoon 17th April. (Hail is normally a problem later in the year during electrical storms due to Bordeaux’s oceanic climate).

(addition to text on 5 may – Fire, Ice and Water – large quantities of rain have fallen leaving vineyards sodden (50mm in the past three days 5th May). With temperatures into the 30s at times, these warm and wet conditions are perfect for …..fungus! There is a super high pressure for MILDEW this year just to cap it all (5 May). So far the vineyards have been sprayed three times (17, 22, 30th April and another this week is due as the copper sulphate is washed away by heavy rain as soon as it is applied_ not systemic). The ground is so water logged that conventional sprayers cant pass. )

Lucky vineyards received heavy rainfall instead of the destructive hail

Some producers had their leaves, buds and future flowers and grapes stripped from the young tender branches leaving no hope of a harvest in this troubled year already, 2020. The lucky ones have seen the light green tender leaves ripped but these early leaves are usually the ones that are removed during deleafing ‘l’effeuillage later in the year, so this is not so serious.

As usual there is a corridor of hail hell starting at St Cibard (Côtes de Franc) in the NE and crossing to South West striking St Philippe d’Aiguilhe (Castillon), Puisseguin (Satellite st emilion), St Etienne de Lisse (St Emilion), St Laurent des combes, St Sulpice de Faleyrans (St Emilion), Grezillac (Entre deux mers). The worst losses it seems were at the beginning in the NE. Apparently around 600 hectares have been touched.

Being the partner of a wine producer, there has been no confinement for them! #lavignecontinue and already the first copper sulphate spraying has taken place – that same afternoon which was then washed away by 40mm of heavy rain that fell! The soil is soggy so the tractors cant get back on the land to do anything let alone another spraying. These early leaves are very fragile and prone to fungal disease…with the frost, hail the wine producers so not stay at home much. Groups of workers are in the vineyards replacing old stakes, planting new vines where the old have died. Trying to control the weeds with cultivation when they can. Cutting the grass inbetween rows;…

Clover green manure in between rows in Castillon
#lavignecontinue Co-planting – replacing the missing vines (already grafted)

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