NO CELEBRATIONS IN CHAMPAGNE
Things are going from bad to worse in Champagne, France. After crop-damaging frosts earlier this year, one of the worst hailstorms in recorded Champagne history hit the southern Côte des Bar region, destroying this year’s grape crop. Damage to the vines from the torrent was so severe it is estimated that a third of next year’s harvest will also be lost. The hail was concentrated in a band to the south of Bar-sur-Aube and particularly hit the villages of Urville and neighboring crus Bergères, Meurville and Baroville, which comprised some 67O hectares of largely Pinot Noir vineyard. In Urville, around 1OO hectares of vines out of the 189 in the village were completely destroyed and will produce no grapes this year. There was around 5O% damage to a further 5O hectares. “The damage is estimated at 13O% because at least 3O% of the 2O13 crop will also be affected,” said Michel Drappier of the eponymous house, the largest in the region. Growers’ livelihoods are threatened, though stocks of réserve individuelles will enable them to still produce around three-quarters of the volume of Champagne they made last year. However, using up all their reserve stock, which many will have to do, will leave them without any cover for next year.