A surprise hailstorm struck some of Montalcino's prized Sangiovese vineyards this past Thursday, raising fears of possible damage to this year's crop. The storm, which lasted about 15 minutes, was centered in the Castelnuovo dell'Abate area in the southeastern part of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation.
"Although the weather has been unpredictable for this time of the year, we were completely taken by surprise," said Filippo Fanti Baldassarre, owner of Fanti winery.
Hailstones about the size of olives pelted some vineyards near the village center. Other nearby vineyards were completely unaffected. Several producers in the area reported that damage had been done, but it was too early to assess how badly the vines may have been harmed.
"Fortunately, it is early in the season and the buds and leaves aren't yet properly developed," said Baldassare. "The extent of what damage has been done is difficult to distinguish. In the next couple of days it will become clearer."