A report from Loosen Bros. Vice President Kirk Wille on the aftermath of the hailstorm that hit Mosel vineyards about a week ago:
I’m here in Bernkastel, just a few days after the freak hailstorm that hit the Middle Mosel on Friday. Some villages were severely hit, with hailstones as large as tennis balls (not kidding – one weighed in at 800 grams!). There was definitely damage to the grapes in some vineyards, but it was the cars and houses that took the worst beating. See this article in Decanter, which quotes our own Anja Moll.
Hail-damaged grapes. Note the dimple in the center grape where a hailstone hit.
At Dr. Loosen, our vineyards in Bernkastel, Ürzig and Erden suffered no damage. But in Graach and Wehlen there is damage that could cost us about 30% of the crop.
This photo shows you up close a cluster that was hit in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard. You can see the large dimple in the center grape where a hailstone hit (they were only as big as golf balls here).
Aside from the loss of the damaged grapes, the risk now is that these grapes are more susceptible to botrytis infection, which will quickly spread to the rest of the cluster.
More hail damage.
It all depends on the weather now. If it stays dry and cool, botrytis will be inhibited and the damaged grapes will dry up and fall away. However, if it gets warm and wet, botrytis will run rampant. We can only wait and see what will happen.
Overall at Dr. Loosen, we’re looking at a 10-15% diminished crop because of the hail. But it’s quite an abundant crop hanging out there, so we’re hopeful that the freakish weather is over and we’ll have good conditions for the harvest, which will start in mid-September, about four weeks earlier than normal.