Tough Spring in Provence!

The misery continues, in 2021 Provence and the whole of France was hit by extreme frost in the spring followed by two years that were dry and hot in Provence and now again frost and as icing on the cake hail storms!

After the heavy rains at the end of March, the vines flourished and they were about 10 days earlier than last year, which is not so good if the frost hits. In addition, the rain already on April 9 gave record early attacks of leaf mold (powdery mildew, so there is always something when you are a vine grower.

And then the frost came on the 19th of April! The frost was so strong that temperatures of -2 ℃ were still measured at 7 in the morning. The frost hit pretty much all of Provence and only the coastal vineyards could survive thanks to the proximity to the Mediterranean.

Now, a month after the frost, the Chamber of Agriculture has estimated that 3,000 hectares have been worst affected. For 300 vineyards, the average loss is as much as 77%!

And then the hail came on the 16th of May with hail that was up to 3 cm in size and just when many vines are in the delicate flowering phase! Most affected are northern Var with areas at or just north of Saint-Maximin-la-Saint-Baume and further west towards Callas northeast of Draguignan. The hail hit vineyards that were already hard hit by the frost in April where the leaves had just started to grow back but now after the hail nothing remains!                                                                            

The insurance available today for the wine farmers is to join the association Rouge Provence where wine farmers who are affected by the vagaries of the weather are helped by the other members by sharing their harvest, read more about Rouge Provence in my Provence wine books.

With both frost and hail in the spring of 2024, the year will not produce a record-breaking harvest either in Provence or in France, where many other wine regions have been severely affected by bad weather.

Source: Vitisphere , ICI par France Blue

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Provence expert Göran Boman, Author of the books “Provence – Vita, röda och även roséviner” and “The Wines of Provence – Tricolour”.

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