Coming from Médoc region and Gironde estuary, a huge hail storm crossed above cognac area last week : an apocalyptic moment of wind, rain, hail, storm, with a sky as black as ink. Some vineyards have been unfortunately deeply impacted.
When the vine has been affected by hail, 4 or 5 days are necessary, without doing anything, (even it is difficult for the winegrower…), to see and understand how the vine will react. Like a person, “she” is injured and curled up therafter, small attempts of re-start appear, as if the vine would say ” shall I go or shall I stay ?”
We had big hopes for the next harvest, grapes were beautiful. It will be certainly a less important harvest as previous.
Even if they know that nothing can be taken for granted, even if they are insured against a number of climate risks, the winegrowers deeply feel theses moments, and emotion takes a lot of time to disappear. The work of a whole year is wiped before their eyes in a single instant without any possibility to protect of prevent.
Diffusers army against hail
As soon as the alert has been transmitted at noon by weather forecast office, the 250 silver iode diffusers have been switched on . In fact, the alert must be issued at the same time, 6 hours before the arrival of the hail, to be efficient. The diffuser located in an area is efficient for an area located 10 kms farther, and so on…
The ignition of the nozzle in the metallic pipe fired up to sky particles of silver iodide which are be sucked in the clouds. The reaction allows to decrease the size of the hailstones and so reduce the damages. However, it has not be sufficent as this huge hail storm was strong, but may-be losses will be less important than without diffusers.