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Politician Chases Aid For Storm-Hit Burgundians

A tree felled by storms in a vineyard in Volnay
© Thiebault Huber | A tree felled by storms in a vineyard in Volnay
Help sought from government in Paris as growers count costs.

The senator for Burgundy’s Côte d’Or region is calling on the French government to come to the aid of local wine growers affected by Tuesday’s devastating storms.

François Patriat announced on Thursday that he would inform the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, of the situation in the Côte de Beaune, following serious hail damage to local vineyards.

“I am going to speak to the prime minister, the minister for agriculture and the finance minister about the extremely precarious situation of a number of vineyard owners in the Côte de Beaune – in particular to help young viticulturists and those who have just purchased land in the area,” Patriat said in a statement.

The villages of Volnay, Pommard, Savigny-lès-Beaune and Pernand-Vergelesses were worst affected and the politician met local mayors and vineyard owners to discuss the damage.

The region has estimated that the hail and rainstorm which battered the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune on Tuesday afternoon wiped out 1,350 hectares of vines, or 5 percent of Burgundy's total vineyard area.

The affected vineyards have had between 10 and 100 percent of their vines destroyed, “representing a potential loss of close to 30,000 hectoliters [3m liters or 4m bottles] for the 2013 harvest.”

Patriat has proposed a meeting with banks and insurance companies in order to “put in place exemptions and try to spread the load with the postponement of loans and national insurance contributions.” This meeting will also consider the current system of insurance for wine growers.

In addition, the senator pledged to commission “studies on minimizing the effects of hail,” in order to raise awareness of how to prevent and manage climate risks.

In early May, heavy rain caused flooding in both Chablis and the Côte d'Or.


Related stories:

Cote de Beaune Ravaged by Storm

Floods Hit Burgundy Vineyards



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