18 June 2013

« Des grêlons gros comme des œufs de poule »

“Hailstones the size of hens' eggs.” That's how they are describing the disaster that struck the Vouvray area early yesterday morning. They say that about three-quarters of the 5,000 acres of vines in the Vouvray wine appellation might have been severely damaged in just 15 minutes' time. There was a foot of ice on the ground in some areas. Roof tiles were broken, cars heavily damaged, and so on.

We were luckier here in Saint-Aignan, which is 35 miles southeast of Vouvray. We heard the thunder in the distance early in the morning. But our weather was fine until mid-afternoon, when a light but steady rain began to fall. It's supposed to rain all week, but so far we haven't had any intense downpours of the kind that caused our roof to leak earlier in the month.

Still, I decided yesterday morning that it would be a good idea to put the car in the garage, just in case we ended up under a shower of hailstones. The car was one less thing to worry about. For now, our garden and our neighbors' vines have been spared. 

This morning it's raining and incredibly dark and gloomy for mid-June. We spent the weekend working in the yard and re-potting plants to set out on the terrace. But now the terrace is all dressed up with nowhere to go — it's too damp and chilly for us to enjoy being out there.

There are articles, slideshows, and videos of some of the damage in the Vouvrillon (the area around Vouvray) on web site of the local newspaper, La Nouvelle Républiquehere and here — if you want to see and read more.


  1. So sorry to read about the hail storm that ravaged the area of Vouvray. As you know, I have a soft spot for the village and its delicious wines. I'm glad to have stocked up on the wine as I'll be a 'denrée rare' in the years to come. My heart goes out to all the people who have suffered damage. I hope that with the promised government help they will soon be on their feet again. Martine

  2. What a terrible storm with such awful consequences to the livelihood of the region.

    We've witnessed such storms, and the consequences, in the Alps but somehow one expects extremes of weather there but not in the Loire Valley.

    Like Martine, I hope they get the promised help...and soon.

  3. I was looking at those same reports earlier...it is terrible...
    in some cases the bark has been stripped right off the young stems.

    And as for the damage to gardens, wildlife and property... as someone who loves nature and growing veg... I can feel their devastation.

    All we can do is keep buying their wine while stocks last... especially from the small producers...
    so that they have an income until government support kicks in...
    I also hope that, as it is still mid-June, some of the adventitious buds get triggered so that they have shoots to work with this Autumn.

  4. Read about the terrible damage in the local news. A photo of one of the hailstones reaaly brought home how devastating an egg sized piece of ice can be.
    As Tim says the best thing we can do is buy the wines, especially from the small producers.

  5. Is it not June? My goodness what weather!! I'm so sorry for the folks in Vouvray.

  6. I saw some photos of Meteociel on Facebook and their warnings to different regions. Terrible!
    Hopefully summer will arrive very soon. 2013 will be remembered for its horrible weather.

  7. Saw what happened to Vouvray last night on France 2 plus what they have been experiencing also in Paris- spooky sky like in a science fic about aliens.

    Some of the vines were bare- no leaves at all and we saw the damaged cars also.

  8. Holy cow, that's amazing, and so unfortunate for the livelihood of these wine growers.

    Your terrace looks lovely, though, and I hope you get to enjoy it soon :) We've got steamy, humid, hot weather, and had a huge rainstorm yesterday that caused lots of flash flooding in areas where you wouldn't expect it--like intersections right in the middle of the city. It caused flooding right into a local car dealership's showroom.

  9. Sorry this happened in Vouvray- I feel for the wine makers. You were wise to protect your car!

    We're having strange weather here in Alabama, but nothing compared to what's happening in your Valley.

  10. Crikey!
    Here in LGP the weather was horrid but not that horrid. It's a tragedy for the wine producers. Is there ever a year where the weather doesn't throw something awful at them?


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