Issue # Five - Nov 2013

Growers in Burgundy Study Alternatives to Protect from Storm Damage

La Revue du Vin de France (RVF) discusses the concerns of viticulteurs in Burgundy with respect to hailstorms and other weather-related threats. Growers, they say, are considering both technical solutions as well as new insurance coverage. The issue has been provoked by the cold and damp spring of 2013 followed by violent hailstorms during the summer. According to the regional body (BIVB), only 40% of growers are currently insured for weather-related damage.

“We have an enormous demand for insurance this year from Burgundy and Bordeaux,” states Jérôme Van Praet of Suisse Grêle, an insurance company. In 2014, he expects rate increases of 5% to 10% in the viticulture sector. Growers fear that, in order to obtain adequate hail coverage, their rates will multiply significantly. Another option is to pursue technical solutions, RVF explains, citing the example of Thiébault Huber, president of the growers syndicate in Volnay. Huber employs a generator to project silver iodide from the ground into hail-laden clouds in an attempt to reduce the size of the hail stones.

The BIVB indicates they are studying this approach and evaluating how the cost of such generators can be shared by all concerned. In the meantime, growers are hoping for some sort of official relief from this year’s damage and crop losses.
Ed. See Issue Four for articles describing the 2013 summer storms.

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