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Hail-Damaged Vouvray Producers Get Some Relief

Growers in Vouvray are getting ready to harvest what's left of their crops
© AFP | Growers in Vouvray are getting ready to harvest what's left of their crops
Emergency measures alleviate losses in the central Loire Valley.

Vouvray growers have been given the go-ahead to harvest up to one-third more than the appellation’s maximum yield if they wish, to make up for the area’s hail-damaged vines.

The local winegrowers’ association sought approval to increase the maximum yield after a violent storm in June left 12 of the appellation’s 180 growers with no fruit to ripen.

After a pre-harvest inspection on Monday, the association's president, Jean-Michel Pieaux, estimated that the total harvest wouldl be around 30 to 40 percent below average.

Most growers are not insured against hail damage, including Damien Douzilly, who farms 15 hectares with his father, Michael. The hailstones totally destroyed 12 hectares of their vines, while the remaining 3 hectares sustained up to 80 percent crop loss.

“Since 2003, we have not been insured against hail because after a small hail event that year, we didn’t receive any compensation. The best insurance is our stock,” Douzilly said.

He admitted he was worried about the consequences of the storms for next year’s crop, but a “beautiful summer allowed the vines to recover."

Growers in Vouvray will also be able to sell their grapes to each other, which is not normally permitted.

Like other vineyards affected by this year's storm damage, the appellation is considering adopting measures to ward off hail, such as cloud seeding.

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