Hail in Bordeaux – the Video

Never mind the recession, the strong euro, the weak pound, increased duty costs and global over-supply of cheap, industrial wine. It’s back to nature, and sometimes nature can be cruel.

Thanks for watching, and excuse the French. Feel free to leave a comment below, or a question.

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73 thoughts on “Hail in Bordeaux – the Video

  1. Peter Easby

    Bad luck – I never thought that hail could do so much damage – We wish you better luck next year!

  2. Geoff French


    I sympathise with you on the damage you have suffered.We had a similar freak storm in Padstow a couple of years ago with hailstones the size of tennis balls.The upshot was that the storm blew the electrics on the control panel of my fire alarm which had to be replaced.

    Hope you can salvage something from this years vintage.

    Best regards


  3. Hugo Rose

    Thanks for taking the trouble to film this Gavin, its something we hear a lot about but rarely see. And heart-felt commiserations too.

    I hope you get some publicity benefit to mitigate what appears to be a major commercial blow. I am sure the wine education people would be interested, and the on-line magazines. You may have to dub some of the expletives into French though.


  4. Denys Ryder

    Gavin & Angela

    I know how you must feel. In 1963 when our eldest son was born my whole stock of Laying poultry, some 30,000 had to be slaughtered because the got Fowl Pets. He came out in a rash, so we think he was attacked by the Fowl Pets virus. Rosemary and I thought it was the end of our farming careers. But No. Pick yourself up, rub yourself down and get on with life. After all your a Quinney and we have experience of a certain lady named Lucy,in Ambleside, who is as gutsy as you. Our sincere wishes for a speedy recovery. God moves in a mysterious way at times, and the picture of the asteroidal size hailstones makes me wonder what have you done so wrong to be attacked in this way.

    Is the message, 'Buy now whilst stocks last', or 'Stay off so that Rick Stein, and the F word man and others with deep pockets can say in their restaurants. "We have been able to get some superb cases of hail resistant, wine"'. Probably a better description than some of the crap descriptions one sees on bottles these days.

    Cheers and keep your peckers up

    Denys & Rosemary.

  5. Richard Bampfield

    pretty grim, Gavin. glad you can still smile and raise some humour. Richard

  6. Sonia Purnell

    Dear Gavin and Angela

    What incredibly bad luck. I can barely bear to watch the devastation on your video. How many times a century does the Bordeaux region experience hail storms like that?

    Good luck with the recovery, Sonia

  7. Peter O'DONNELL

    Absolutely heartbreaking; akin to losing a herd to foot and mouth, I guess. I've put the sauvignon blanc on special consumption only. Hang on in there; you deserve better luck and if the bond is all red next year, what the hell.

  8. Gavin

    Hugo and Richard

    Many thanks for your kind remarks. We are honoured to have two Masters of Wine take the time to post a comment. Sorry about the expletives – I left a couple in, as the moment merited it, although there were a few more in other clips that I cut out.

  9. Gavin

    Peter, Geoff, Denys and Rosemary

    Many thanks for your support. Greetings to Norfolk, Cornwall and Hampshire, respectively.

  10. Michael Kane

    That's unreal Gavin, really sorry to see that.

    We witnessed something similar first hand in the village of Chateauneuf du Pape in September 2002, I'd say just before picking, I honestly don't know how anyone produced a vintage that year it was so severe.

    Whatever you can get out of 2009 will be in high demand, very best of luck.

  11. Gavin


    Thanks for your comment. To be fair, I think losing a herd of animals would be far worse, and I'm not so close to the vines that I've named all 150,000 individually. It's true that there'll be more red Bauduc available compared to white next year, but our 2008 red is our best yet. Honestly.

    The problem/joy with our sauvignon blanc is that it sells out the year after the harvest. Which in turn means that if we miss a year, there'll be a hole for some time, while, on the other hand, we keep stock of the red as it matures in barrel and bottle.

    Meanwhile, for you, may the demand for skilled architects recover soon – or perhaps you're enjoying a little time off.

  12. Gavin


    Thank you. Long time no see since your great article in The Observer – hope all's well.

    As for the frequency of hail in Bordeaux, we were hit in June 2003 – members of the trade who came to the trade fair, Vinexpo, might recall the night of 24 June, when the party at Canon La Gaffeliere in St-Emilion was all but blown away by strong winds, apparently. That storm followed a similar pattern to the 13 May 2008 storm – up from the Graves, along the Northern Entre Deux Mers, and into St-Emilion. In all, about 7000 hectares were hit in June 2003, to a greater or lesser extent.

    Hailstorms tend to be quite isolated. Last year, for example, they had hail on 28 May in Margaux, which did some damage, but several estates were completely trashed on 28 July in Lussac St-Emilion. (There's a post on that on this blog.)

    My only other recollection of serious hail impact over the last decade was hail in St-Emilion in September 1999, when estates like Château Angélus were hit. That storm passed overhead here, and I prayed at the time that there'd be no damage here for our first harvest. The Gods listened then, but this year we've not been so fortunate.

    To be hit by two separate hail storms, in two separate vineyard locations, is very rare.

  13. Peter Kendal

    Oh bugger! what bad luck – just wish you well and that it is possible to recover things perhaps quicker than you fear

    My very best wishes to you all


  14. Nicky Clark

    Rob and I are so very sorry to see such devastation; just heartbreaking. We will drink to your next years production with some of your wonderful wine.

  15. Kevin Leighton

    What a disaster for you, at least you have maintained your British sense of humour – if only in the title of the movie. As some of the others say I am sure you and your vines will return stronger. Consider this natures way of pruning!

    Best wishes,


  16. chris edwards

    Hi Gavin, Angela.

    Have seen this further North in Burgundy but this storm seems to have been so severe, its unvelievable….

    Will forward the video to 'wine' friends to see if we can drum up some business !!!

    Best wishes to you and the family

    Chris and Helen

  17. Lin

    Hi Gavin and Angela

    Soz (my work colleagure) and I have just been watching your video on the destruction of your lovely vineyard from the hailstorms. Totally unbelievable and Soz, Mark and myself send our commiserations to you all, you must also be feeling at your lowest ebb right know with only 10% of the vineyard left for production.

    I know that you have both put your heart and souls and just about everything else into this venture. Its your livelihood and you love it, I just hope you end up with a real bumper year in 2010 to make up for whats just happened.

    Chin up, thinking of you and just about to purchase some vino!!!

    Lots of love

    Lin (and Mark)

  18. julian dolman

    What bloody awful luck! We are so sorry for you both. But hard work invested will in the end pay off. Not that that is a comfort I know. Really very very sorry. We are drinking as hard as we can, and cant honetly go any faster. We hope you have better luck for the reswt of the season. Julian and Susan Dolman

  19. Oscar Tymon

    Devastated to hear the news Gavin, I hope you manage to salvage something from the affected parcels. A tiny light in what must currently be a dark and frozen tunnel: I was fortunate enough to have been invited by a good friend to lunch at Gordon Ramsay a couple of weeks back and delighted to advise that Bauduc bottles adorned many tables. Better put the prices up for the stock you have left as it's obviously a bargain!

    All best wishes and moral support


  20. bob lindo

    Hi Gavin

    Most people wont realise it’s an emotional loss for a grower – a financial loss, of course, but much more. It’s hopes, plans, dreams and of course hard work. My first thought is spray the remainder ASAP for mildew and botrytis and just hope you have a few surviving canes for next year. Here, we could do a mix of cane and spur pruning, but I assume that’s not an AOC option.

    Sorry mate.

    Kind regards

    Bob Lindo

  21. Andrew McParland

    Gavin, what awful luck.The commercial property market experienced a sudden violent hail storm of the kind you filmed;unfortunately it's on the whole stil hailing for us !

    Best of luck with Plan B.If it is a really good plan B can I come along with you?



  22. David Montague Renda

    Dear Gavin & Angela,

    What a terrible disaster! Four years ago I had a disaster on stage in Copenhagen when a stage hand pushed the wrong button on a computer, and a set that I was standing beneath was crushed and fell on me knocking me down about 15 feet, resulting in a total hip and knee replacement. You think hail hurts! At least next year you will hopefully have a great harvest. My career has finished as a result of the debrit from above! Your explitives and wonderful French are fully excused, but warranted.

    Perhaps you should have thought of making an early 'Eis Wein'.

    My sincerest best wishes,

    David Montague Rendall

  23. Gavin

    Richard, Chris and Helen, and Kevin 'this is Houston calling' Leighton,

    So many kind comments, thank you from the whole team.

  24. Gavin

    Lin and Mark

    Thanks for the order too, as well as the comment of course. Soz sounds like a name that would fit around here. Send her my regards.

  25. Simon Deane-Johns

    A vivid reminder of just how hard farming of any kind really is. I hope the good years more than make up for this, and that the film at least helps you on the marketing front. Will buy some wine. Best wishes.

  26. Phil Quiney

    Hi Gavin

    Thank you for sending the video of the hail storm damage – can't say how sorry I am to see this – I come from a farming family so am used to nature's cruel tricks. Had some vines myself when I lived near Malvern – protected them like children! I would be devastated! "Chin up and get straight back on the horse" as Mum would say. Wishing you better luck to come. Phil Quiney

  27. Gavin


    Sorry to hear about you crashing off the stage in Copenhagen. I recall you telling me about ten years ago that your favourite wines are 35 South from Chile and Chateau Lascombes from Margaux. Strange bedfellows. Don't know about 35 South but I can assure you that Lascombes is making much better wine in the noughties than previously, even if it is much more expensive now as Mr Parker likes it. The Chateau's for sale if you've got a couple of hundred thousand euros spare. (Lascombes, not Bauduc.)

  28. Hugh and Mary Bishop

    Nil desperandum!

    We are so very sorry to hear of this disaster. We are and will continue to be foot soldiers in the Bauduc Fan Club. You have our utmost sympathy but we have no doubt that your agricultural genes will carry you through. Resurgam!

  29. Graham & Tina

    Gavin & Angela, so sorry to see the devastation wrought by nature. It all seems so unfair when you pour so much love into your work. Having experienced freak unseasonal weather in august with you this is so much worse than a spoilt holiday. I hope you can recover something from this harvest. We'll be sharing a glass with your Sister in Ambleside next week and we will drink to your health and the recovery of the vines. We will be ordering a bulk delivery as some measure of support. Best wishes Graham & Tina.

  30. Gavin


    Many thanks and thanks too for the order. Glad to read that Bauduc was flowing at Gordon Ramsay's. All the best.

  31. Gavin


    Thanks for the message of support from the vines down in Camel Valley in Cornwall. Well done on all your medals in the Decanter Awards, by the way, and thanks to Annie for the recent order.

    We got out there and sprayed straight away after both hailstorms to limit the risk of disease. A lot of work for little return for now.

    Best wishes.

  32. Gavin

    Hi Phil

    Sorry these replies are out of sync with the messages – wasn't expecting this level of support. Great stuff. Back on the horse, as you say.

  33. Gavin

    Graham and Tina

    Love to my big sister in Ambleside when you see her, and thanks in advance for the bulk delivery. All the best.

  34. Bruce & Bridget

    Gavin and Angela

    Thanks for the video, horrifyingly graphic.

    Really not fair! But then nature does not know how fabulous your wines are and how hard you work. There will be lots of thirsty friends who will curse your bad luck.

    With best wishes

    At least Chelsea won!

    1. Gavin

      Many thanks Bruce and Bridget. On the Chelsea/vineyard front, we had much to look forward to at the beginning of May. The vines were in great shape and then Ange and I went over to Stamford Bridge to see the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. We thought it couldn't get much worse after Chelsea went out on away goals deep into injury time. Then the hailstorm on 13th May, followed by another on the 25th. The month ended on a high at Wembley though – despite being surrounded by foul-mouthed, aggressive Chelsea and Everton fans in the same (Chelsea) section – and Bordeaux won the French league the same day. What a month. All the best, Gavin

  35. Fergus & Kate Mc

    So much for global warming…. we are trying to drink as much of your wine as possible and will replenish our stocks very soon. Keep smiling if you can, our thoughts are with you.

    By the way the rose you recently sent us is delicious and i know that Kate and I are drinking much more than the government health departments recommend. If only i could get it free on 'expenses'!

    Love Fergus and Kate.

    1. Gavin

      Hi Fergus and Kate, well done on working through the rosé. It's been a big success this year with customers, especially after we didn't bottle the 2007 because we didn't like it enough.
      Don't drink too much, but then as a brewer you too 'live above the sweet shop', I guess, so you know when to lower the consumption.
      As for expenses, the 'Tasty Expenses' email we sent out in early April can be seen in the 'Emails and Offers' category on the right here. I didn't realise that MP's expenses were to be permanently in the news after that.

  36. Marcus


    Quite appalled by what's happened. At least you have your family around you for support.

    It's s good job you and Angela are tough cookies

    We wish you the best of luck with the recovery process


  37. sara Connolly

    Simon and I had dinner with stevie Kenny last night and we were all can't believe the size of them astroids. so so sorry and we will all be supporting 'the fund'. At least Chelsea won something!!

  38. Bill Blevins

    Hi Gavin and Angela

    What a disaster! We were at Le Cirier when the storm was due to arrive but by some miracle it just missed us. Cars in Lalinde were damged by the hail whereas we saw none of it. I am so sorry to see the damage doen to your beautiful viveyards. Being someone who always sees things as half full rather than half empty (neccessary for us Blue supporters) I am sure you will come out of thie stronger and perhaps next year will be a vintage year to compensate.

    See you in the summer

    Love to you both

    Bill & Hayley

  39. Louise, Toby and Hol

    So sorry to hear about your hail storms. Perhaps you could be a tv presenter…the Jeremy Clarkson of wine? X

    1. Gavin

      Thanks Louise. I quite like the idea of a swapping the salary of a legend like Jeremy Clarkson with that of a lowly vigneron. Love, Gavin

  40. Mark Lamb

    I just wanted to add my voice to the many others and say how very sorry I am to learn of the utter devastation at Bauduc.

    Obviously if there was anything I could do to help? I really hope that you get back on your feet and carry on. All the best to you all at Bauduc who have given us such pleasure over the last 5 years or so…

    Kind regards

    Mark Lamb

  41. Paul & Yuriko

    Devastating! However, we hope you can move on and that there will be a silver lining somewhere in all of this way beyond the recent cupware at Stamford Bridge…

    Very best wishes to you both,

    Paul & Yuriko.

  42. giles and alex frase

    Gavin and Angela,

    This is absolutely awful, you poor things! But if anyone can get through a disaster like this you two can!

    If only some of those hail-stones had dropped on Iniesta in the 92nd minute at the Bridge. Where are they when you need them? We look forward to buying you both some huge drinks when we are over later this month

    Lots of love

    Giles and Alex

  43. Charlie

    Horrified to see this – feel so sad for you and Angie. Must be terribly disheartening. Amanda and I send lots of love and best wishes (and look forward to seeing you guys very soon).

  44. Ellian + Tim Hindle

    Dear Gavin and Angela,

    Just saw your shocking hailstorm film – what a disaster! Will cross our fingers, hope and pray that nature (and sales!) will be great from now on. Keep well, love and best wishes. Ellian+Tim

  45. Stephen Brook

    Gavin and Angela

    There's little I can add to the other heartfelt commiserations, as well as expressions of admiration for your pluck and humour in the face of such devastation. It's particularly maddening for you, given that the grim economic times should represent a fine opportunity for vignerons such as yourselves who are driven by quality and value, and not by greed and snobbery.


  46. David & Sally Cr

    Dear G & A …. Mon Dieu ! Terrible !

    Perhaps the harvest will turn out better than you expect ?

    In the meantime we shall raise our glasses to you on many occasions during the summer and the toast will be …." Chateau Bauduc " !

    David and Sally

  47. Myriam Clapham

    This was passed on to me by a friend, I was caught up in exactly the same type of storm in Villars Switzerland last June/July walking. There are a lot of small vineyards around and Antagnes especially was badly hit, I thought expected in the mountains. So sorry have seen the damage it does, bonne chance et bon courage.

    Myriam Clapham Torquay Devon.

  48. John and Beth Lawton

    Gavin/Angela, Really sorry to see the damage to your vines – it's a cruel world! There seems to be a crisis of some sort every year but this one is pure devastation. Glad to see that you haven't lost your sense of humour but it must have been sorely tested! Thinking of you – best wishes, John and Beth

  49. Emily Doherty

    Gav, Ange and little Quinneys all – slow on the uptake but we wanted to add our commiserations. Quite unbelievably bad luck – we are so so sorry.

    Perhaps Allah had a hand in it – he never did approve of consuming (quite such gorgeous) booze.

    Lots of love,

    Em and Juzzer (with frustratingly healthy livers, in Abu Dhabi)


  50. John Bagley

    What a disaster ! We are so very sorry for you – I guess it's akin to the loss of a good friend.

    However, take heart from the 2007 Rose failure : it has been followed by your absolutely brilliant 2008 Bordeaux Rose. So here's raising a glass to a brilliant 2010 vintage from (by then) well rested vines. Love and Best Wishes, John & Janette.

  51. Lucy Rutledge

    Dear Gavin and the family,

    Oh mon Dieu!

    I've only just had a chance to see this and was very sad to see all the damage done. I hope things improve quickly and I hope I will be able to help you out in some way or another in July. Looking forward to meeting you all,

    Bonne chance,

    Lucy xxx

  52. Gavin

    We have replied personally by email to everyone who left a comment here – once again, thanks for taking the trouble and for your support. Readers are no doubt keener to see everyone's comments, rather than a string of thank-you's from me.

    So, in short, thanks to Mark for his comment and for ordering Bauduc wine for his wedding – and the very best of luck for the big day. Thanks to Paul and Yuriko from LA and to Charlie from San Francisco for your thoughts (and sorry about the Toon, Paul). To Giles and Alex, let's not meet again at half-time in case it brings bad luck, and to Chantal and Stuart, Ellian and Tim, David and Sally, and John and Janette, many thanks for your continued support. (By the way, Tim of The Economist wrote an excellent article about Bauduc and Bordeaux, which you can find on the main bauduc.com site under 'About Us – Press Cuttings').

    Thanks Myriam, Lucy, Ems and Juzzer, and to John and Beth – and for your order too. Finally, great to have a comment like that from Stephen Brook, who is currently editing Hugh Johnson's new Wine Companion. Stephen wrote The Complete Bordeaux, published by Mitchell Beazley, which deserves a place on any Bordeaux lover's bookshelf. Cheers, Gavin.

  53. Alexander Salem

    I'm so very sorry especially after so many years of work on the young vines. I watched the video clip and I'm glade that at least some of the vines were protected by the woods. The very best of wishes for the road ahead.

    Kind regards,


  54. Malcolm Beill

    Dear Gavin & Angela

    You have spirit (or is it a madness)to run a business where a totally uncontrollable outside influence can have such a devastating effect. I just hope that end result is not too disasterrous and you have a bumper year in 2010. We will try to preach the Bauduc word harder and look forward to seeing you in September. Kindest regards and good wishes – Malcolm Beill

  55. Lizzie and Scott Ree

    So sad, awful to see Gavin in amongst the devastation. We know you'll bounce back and we'll certainly do our bit to spread the word but comisserations – what rotten luck. All our love.

  56. Richard Ward

    Get Ramsay and Stien to market a "suvived the hailstorm " vintage use it as a marketing tool if that is possible , not that I know much about wine , but Beaujolais Nouveax got away with it for years

    "The (very) rare 2009 Bauduc first in London" type thing.

    Good luck anyway