Category Archives: Bordeaux 2014

A year on from the hail

You might have read that we’re a bit anxious about hail after the devastation last August. Followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook will have noticed my, ahem, occasional mention of looming storms. Mercifully, there’s been no repeat of the hail, although the constant forecasts of ’Risque de Grêle’ has brought on several sleepless nights.

Below is a collection of tweets with references to umpteen hail warnings from the French Met Office, notably in May, June and June. We now think they put ’risk of hail’ alongside most storm warnings just to cover themselves. But you never know.

(To see all the tweets, scroll through from inside the window, and ‘laid more’ if you can bear to.) Keep reading

Waiting for the storm

We’ve had our fair share of hail over the years. And tonight, the forecast is for a huge storm running from the South West of France, heading north.


The G-word – Grêle – is the one we fear most. It’s rare to see mention of giant grêlons in advance.

Keep reading

Bordeaux 2014 – the start of the flowering

Evangile 1 June 2014 - 44This report also appears on and Liv-ex.

The flowering has started in Bordeaux and, with any luck, the weather might just be with us for this critical stage of the growing season.

What a difference a year makes. In Bordeaux 2013 – running late, I wrote “There hasn’t been a poor vintage in Bordeaux for twenty years but the cold, damp weather, as we approach the critical month of June, is a gentle reminder that anything can happen.”

Bordeaux 2014 has been up and down so far and, of course, there’s a long way to go. Somehow though, as I tried to cheer up some fellow growers during a cold spell recently, it feels like it’s going to be a good year.

We had an early budbreak and, while it is certainly not a huge crop, the number of potential bunches is about right – for quality. (Nothing like a decade ago when so much green harvesting took place in the summer of 2004, following on from two years of low yields.)

We’ve had intermittent rain and sun, and a huge variation in Spring temperatures from one spell to the next; everyone has had to work hard to combat the threat of mildew as you’d expect in such conditions. But it’s looking good. Keep reading