A large hailstorm cut a violent swath over a large portion of the Loire's top Sauvignon Blanc appellations, Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, on the night of June 23. The storm is yet another setback for Loire vignerons in what has been a difficult vintage: The hail damage follows a severe frost that hit the western half of the valley—Muscadet and Anjou—earlier in the season.
Vignerons reported that between 750 to 1,000 of Pouilly-Fumé's 2,900 acres of vines were affected by the hailstorm. Neighboring Sancerre was less affected, with reports indicating a few hundred acres in the southern part of the appellation (which totals 6,600 acres) were affected. Damage ranges from 10 percent to a total loss.
Pascal Jolivet, one of the area's top producers, claimed one-third of his vineyards had been hit, but noted that while there is damage, the storm occurred early enough in the growing season so that there may be enough time for the vines to recover (as happened in Côte-Rôtie last June).
"The flowering has just finished, and we need some more weeks to have a better overview of the situation," said Jolivet. "You can imagine that we are not happy. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. We cross our fingers that the weather remains warm and sunny."
If the weather remains stable from here on, vine canopies can recover, though yields will certainly be reduced. In more severe cases, a vine's shoot growth for the ensuing season can be affected by hail.
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