Thu 27 Jun 2013

Hail damage in Vouvray

branches ripped off vines

branches ripped off vines

Members may have heard about the terrible weather conditions affecting many parts of the continent recently. We received the following dramatic first-hand report of the particularly devastating hailstorm that passed through the Tours region on the morning of 17th June. Philippa and Charles Sydney, who are based in the region, will be familiar to members who have attended our Loire tastings.

Hailstones the size of golf balls

Hailstones the size of golf balls

‘Just back in from Vouvray. Drove up in the sunshine this afternoon with the roof down in the soft-top, but had to put the roof up on arrival in Vouvray as the rain was just starting and yet more storm clouds amassing.

The road up from the centre of Vouvray to the vineyards at the top was a mass of bright colours – bright green leaves carpeting the road, bright blue tarpaulin covering damaged roofs, yellow flashing lights on tractors clearing the roads and towing away damaged cars, and glistening white piles of hail stones on the side of the road. Impressive.

Usually you just see the damage on the leaves after hail – here it’s the whole stems that have been ripped right off the vines. I spoke to two producers, one who estimated 70% crop loss and the other around 60%.

The storm was very localised on Vouvray itself. It started at around 5.30am and “only” lasted about half an hour – but that was more than enough to devastate the land. I was there at 15.00pm – almost 10 hours later – and the hail stones still hadn’t melted!

The problems for the producers are even worse than usual because as well as losing the actual crop, many have also had severe damage to their tractors, chais, cars.

Goodness knows how things will turn out. Let’s just hope it isn’t as awful as it looks.’

Grim reading and our thoughts are with all the vignerons affected.

Categories : France, Loire


  1. Jason Yeomans says:

    Television pictures on TF1 news the following evening showed the extent of the damage at Vouvray – have never seen the vignerons interviewed so fearful for their future prospects. Hope they are able to salvage something from the devastation.

    • Bob Sage says:

      We were further south in the Lot region at Rocamadour when that same storm hit, and it was fearsome to behold. Can only feel sorry for all those whose livelihood has been put at risk.

  2. David Sandys-Renton says:

    exactly the same story in the Haute Savoie and round Geneva

Leave a comment