• From Wine Spectator:
"On the afternoon of Aug. 14, a violent storm and small tornado hit the French town of Bédarrides, with 120 mph wind gusts and large hailstones inflicting damage in vineyards along the eastern side of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
"According to reports from local vignerons, the primary impact was felt in La Crau, the famed vineyard on a plateau in the southeast of the appellation, considered by many to be Châteauneuf’s finest parcel. Well-known wineries, including Vieux Télégraphe, Château La Nerthe, Château de Nalys, Domaine La Boutinière and Guillaume Gonnet, among others, source fruit from this lieu-dit for their top cuvées."
While the damage was significant, hitting both grapes and leaves, the story suggests that local vintners believe that the vineyards - some of them over a century old - will be able to make a recovery in time for the next vintage.
The storm was "described as a 'tornade Americaine' by the French newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré, for its resemblance to weather phenomenons more commonly seen in the U.S. South and Midwest … This was the latest freak weather occurrence in a season filled with evidence of a changing climate; Europe has experienced a summer marked by extreme drought, heat waves and forest fires. Two days after the wind and hail ripped through, on Aug. 16, record-breaking thunderstorms in Paris triggered destructive flash flooding; two days after that, heavy rain and hurricane-force winds over 136 mph left eight dead in France and Italy."