Storms Hit Cote d’Or

image Even flowers suffered. For the second straight year storms have wreaked havoc on some of Burgundy’s finest vineyard sites.  Between 17h and 19:30h four storms swept north from the Macon, at least two of them with devasting hail ranging in size from peas to cherries, leaving a trail of stripped leaves, broken branches, and potentially damaged fruit.  The most severely affected areas seen by this blogger were in two areas, one in the middle Cote de Nuits and the other from Beaune to northern Puligny. While most were preparing for Brazil vs. Chile in the second round of the World Cup, the first storm tore north through the Cote de Beaune, arriving at this writer’s gite at Domaine Henri Richard in Gevrey-Chambertin at 17:20h.  Heavy rains and high winds that I estimate at 75km per hour were accompanied by some hail of small to medium size, currant to raspberry size with a few cherry-sized ice nuggets.  The hail at Gevrey in this first wave was slight, interspersed with heavy rain, and seemed pretty insignificant.  But I got in my car anyway to see what was happening further south.  I felt like a Kansas tornado-chaser. At 17:30h I left Domaine Henri Richard driving south on the Route de Grands Crus.  I saw very little damage from this first wave of storms as I headed south through the Grands Crus of Chambertin, through Morey St Denis and into Chambolle. The worst of the first wave had ended, but as I reached Musigny and Clos de Vougeot, a second wave of cherry-sized hail, accompanied by high winds and torrential rain lasting about 8 minutes arrived.  Hailstones were bouncing off my rental car, sounding like a steel drum orchestra.  I took shelter under a tree above the Vougeot 1er Cru Monopole Clos La Perriere. Damage was significant, with the ground covered in stripped leaves, shoots broken, and several branches forced out of their guidewires.  As I continued past Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux into Vosne-Romanee it was clear that damage will be widespread.  Vine leaves littered the ground, nearly carpeting the space between rows.   The precious Grands Crus of Vosne-Romanee were covered with leaves between the rows of vines, and some grape bunches had been damaged. Continuing into Nuits St. Georges there was much less damage, with only a few leaves or branches down through Premeaux into Ladoix and Aloxe Corton.  Further ahead toward Beaune it was ominously dark above.  But the third wave  storm proved to be merely heavy rain for no more than three minutes. image It was turning off the Beaune ringroad heading south that damage began to look truly bad.  The road south of Beaune was covered in tree leaves, showing the power and devastating force of the hail, wind, and heavy rain. Taking the road from southern Beaune towards Pommard Epenots onto the mid-slopes of the 1ers Crus, and on through the middle and upper 1ers Crus vineyards of Volnay, Meursault, and northern Puligny, there were signs of significant damage to gardens, flowers, trees, and some of the same vineyards that were almost totally destroyed in the hailstorms of July 2013.  From Beaune Epenottes through Pommard Epenots, around to Charmots, through the upper part of Pommard village into Volnay there were leaves and branches everywhere.  Volnay Taillepieds, Clos des Chenes, and Caillerets looked significantly affected, and the damage continued into the upper parts of Meursault Santenots, the monopole Clos Richemont in Les Cras, and on into Puligny Chalumeaux and lower Blagny.  The small forest below Blagny appears to have lost most of its pine cones.  The southern 1ers Crus of Perrieres and les Charmes seemed less affected, with only a few leaves littering the ground. image Into upper Puligny the damage was less severe but still obvious.  Caillerets, Folatieres, Truffieres all had leaves beaten to the ground in significant piles.  But by the end of Caillerets and beginning of Pucelles things looked happier.  The Grands Crus of Montrachet, Chevalier, and Batard suffered only a few scattered stripped leaves. Moving down past Criots Batard, Chassagne Blanchots Dessus and through the village of Chassagne past Fairendes, Boudriottes, Caillerets and Grandes Ruchottes things were very wet but mostly untouched continuing into Santenay.  Some erosion on higher slopes was noticed. As I write this now the light is still with us, with light intermittent showers.  Hopefully the night will be quiet, but more storms with severe and damaging potential are forecast for tomorrow.  Only time and vignerons will tell us in the next few days what damage has been done to a region already painfully short of wines to sell. Posted from WordPress for Android

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