Luckily, Bele Casel has been spared from any major hail damage this year.
Hail. Just the sound of the word puts a chill down the grape grower and winemaker’s spine!
Growers in Italy are already deep into hail season, especially in northern Italy, where there has already been some extreme weather this year.
One of the things that has been strange about the weather this year in northern Italy is that there has been a series of heavy rainstorms followed by unusually hot temperatures. A lot of people will tell you that “it’s really hot or it’s really cold” for the season. That’s because the hot and cold weather seem to alternate in a pattern that few recognize as normal.
Hail is particularly dangerous for wine grapes and crops in general because it generally moves sideways and doesn’t just fall straight from the sky to the ground. As a result, a heavy hail storm can really take a toll on the newly formed grape bunches.
The other problem is that it is hard and sharp. And that’s the major issue: It can break the skins of the grapes. And that’s when the real problems begin. Not only do you lose the fruit that was directly affected by the hail but you also have to deal with the rot and mildew that can emerge after the storm.
There’s usually rain with hail and the hail ultimately melts anyway. As a result the humidity level in the vineyards becomes excessive and creates conditions that can lead to rot and mildew. When you add the broken skins to that equation, even a small hailstorm can affect a large parcel of fine wine grapes and vines.
The good news is that Bele Casel has been really fortunate this year, despite the strange weather. So far, the winery hasn’t had any major damage. Just a few rows have been affected so far and the problem was easily contained.
Keep praying for us! We’re not “out of the woods” yet!