May 13, 2009 / 5:28 PM / 9 years ago

Hail deals serious blow to Bordeaux wine harvest


BORDEAUX, France, May 13 (Reuters) - Hail storms earlier this week destroyed vines in the Bordeaux area and put the commercial survival of some wine growers at risk, officials said on Wednesday.

The damage, affecting thousands of hectares, will hurt the harvests of 2009 and 2010 and could also lead to insurance claims. There will almost certainly be fewer bottles, which might help lift recently depressed prices.

"Some sectors such at the area of Portets have been touched twice. For the growers concerned that means they are losing 30 percent to 100 percent," said Jean-Louis Viviere, director of the Graves wine growers, south of Bordeaux.

At Margaux, the losses in the southern side of the region were estimated at between 30 percent and 80 percent.

"About 30 out of 75 have been touched," said Gonzague Lurton, president of the local growers association, who added 700 hectares had been damaged.

"That will have consequences for the growths of 2009 and 2010," said Natacha Elia, coordinator of the vintner consultants at the Gironde chambre of agriculture.

"You can take out insurance against these phenomena but the extent of this episode is far more important than in 2003 when the hail was less deadly," she said.

In the Libourne region alone, close to Bordeaux, a provisional figue of 2,000 of hectares of damaged vineyards is being mentioned.

The Meteo France weather forecasters said the worst of the storms were over. (Reporting by Eric Moreau, writing by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Matthew Jones)



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