A hail storm hit La Clape on the evening of Friday 13th June and has caused significant damage, especially on the western (Narbonne) flank of the massif. Starting with hail stones the size of peas the storm lasted some 45 minutes with peach stone sized lumps doing the damage. Some 250 ha have been affected to varying degrees.
Chateau Ricardelle, with wines listed by no less than Berry Brothers & Rudd in the UK, has been the worst hit and will lose 90% of their crop from 38 ha of vines. Neighbour Domaine Peche Redon is reported to have lost an estimated third. As well as impacting the 2014 harvest, damage to the vine growth that will form buds the following year will severely affect 2015.
Hail damage in the Languedoc is rare and most vineyards are not specifically insured for hail damage. Perhaps the best hope will be for the ministry of agriculture to declare a natural disaster that will mean at least some payments will be made in compensation.
I have a particular fondness for the massif having helped pick grapes in a private vineyard near Peche Redon.
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