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Hail lashes France's Burgundy region

'Catestrophic' storms lead to losses up to 90 percent

July 24, 2013

Severe storms and hail lashed France’s Burgundy region leading to losses of up to 90 percent and threatening output for both the 2013 and 2014 vintages, producers said on Wednesday.

The storms on Tuesday, which saw strong hail accompanied by high winds, caused widespread damage in some of France’s most well-known win areas, including Côte Beaune, Volnay, Pommard and Savigny-les-Beaune.

“It is awful to see these vines ripped by hail and several years of wine growers’ work destroyed by the weather in one afternoon,” Xavier de Volontat, head of France’s independent wine makers said.

“Damage will be severe, which means that the 2013 vintage due to come out in 2015-2016 will become much rarer,” he said.

Thiebault Huber, the head of the Volnay wine producers’ union said such heavy hail could do damage to vineyards that can last up to three years.

Wine growers are quickly trying to treat the vines so that they are not ruined by disease after the storms.

The storm was the latest in a string of difficulties to hit Burgundy wine producers, including flooding in the spring and hailstorms last year that destroyed 60 percent of crops on some estates.

Burgundy was the 7th largest wine producing region in France in 2011 and produced by far its most expensive wine, with an average supermarket price in 2011 of $11.50 per liter against $8.30 for Bordeaux.

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