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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Worrying Time for Rosé Producers in Provence

A severe hailstorm damaged between 5, 000 and 7,000 hectares of vineyards in Provence this year, vines which produce top quality Rosé wine. Our local viticulturists are worried that this might have serious effects on wine production this year; even five weeks later they still don’t know what the real impact of the storm will have on their crop and production figures.

At the end of May, the shoots are normally young, sensitive, healthy and beautiful to look at – a source of pride not only for growers, but for us locals. Shoots, the above ground portions of the vine produce leaves, tendrils and fruit.

This year however things were different.  The storm took place early Sunday morning, at 8.15 a.m on  27th of May;  temperatures dropped from 27° centigrade to a mere 7° with stones the size of golf balls and lasted around thirteen minutes.

Thirteen  minutes too long; some of orchards looked as if an intruder had sprayed them over with a shot gun – a grower’s night mare. This could not have come at a worse time for them; owners reacted quickly though and started cutting back again.

Thankfully weather conditions have improved since – more stable and dry, thanks to the mistral and the fruit are now shyly emerging.

Some 167 cooperative caves and 33 private owners are holding their breath, hoping that the price of Rosé does not increase.  So are the locals. Bulk price for Côte de Provence at present is around 1.50 euros per liter; this is a reasonable price and the quality is exceptional.

This isn’t France’s largest region but more than 80% of Rosé comes from our costal Provence, France’s oldest wine producing area.  A late production seems certain but hopefully wine sales, both domestic and exports will remain stable this year.  

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