Today the Champagne industry has nothing to toast. Strong hail storms hit the famous wine growing region of France and wiped out the equivalent of eight million bottles of bubbly.
The strong hailstorm damaged 4,450 acres of Champagne vineyards — completely destroying about 1,000 of those.
This isn’t the first storm to wreck havoc on this year’s harvest. The northeastern Champagne region was hit hard four times between late April and May, which is unfortunately the exact time that the delicate vines begin to flower. The fourth storm, which hit May 27, caused the most harm.
“Of course storm and hail are not unusual phenomena in Champagne, but what is rare is to see them at this very early stage and with this level of violence,” the industry’s Champagne Committee said.
Thanks to the region’s reserves, the hail damage is not expected to result in a shortage for customers this season. Nor will the weather have an impact on quality, but the devastation will certainly hurt the pockets of individual growers in the industry.
“Three percent of the potential future harvest vanished before our eyes,” the Champagne Committee told the Telegraph.
Champagne growers are expecting that these types of early, violent hail storms are a glimpse into the future.
“Climate change isn’t about regular temperature rise but more chaotic climate because it is so violent and at such an unusual period,” said the Committee.