Abruzzo: blizzard “Attila” devastates vineyards, Valentini loses 50-year-old vines

abruzzo snow blizzard vineyard

Above: Many vineyards in Abruzzo are pergola-trained and as a result, the weight of the snow on the canopies caused them to collapse. Strong winds also caused major damage in vineyards and olive groves (image via Intravino via NewsAbruzzo).

According to reports published over the weekend in Italy, snowfall and blizzard conditions destroyed up to 2,700 hectares of vineyards in Abruzzo last week.

The storm — dubbed “Attila” — delivered freezing temperatures and 100-kph winds from the Artic, dumping up to 2 feet of snow on the central Italian region.

snow abruzzo olive grove

Above: Pescocostanzo in L’Aquila province on Wednesday of last week (image via MeteoWeb).

In his post today for DIVINI, the Corriere della Sera wine blog, journalist Luciano Ferraro published a short interview with leading Abruzzo grape grower and winemaker Francesco Valentini, whose winery, which dates back to the 1600s, is widely considered one of the best in Italy today.

“In the provinces of Pescara, Chieti, and Teramo,” says Valentini, “there was a first wave of bad weather two weeks ago, with 500 millimeters of rainfall in just a few short hours. Then, last Tuesday, there was a blizzard, with gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour. It wreaked havoc in our vineyards. We’re still assessing the damage but I believe [Abbruzzo] had up 2,700 hectares [under vine] that were leveled.”

On the Valentini estate, which covers 250 hectares, of which 75 are planted to vine, “half of the vines were damaged, unfortunately in the best zones for both Trebbiano and Montepulciano. Precious vines that were at least a half-century old. At this point, we’ll have to survey each plant to determine which can be saved and which will be thrown away. [The storm brought] tremendous damage. And many other wine and olive oil producers are in the same situation.”

Valentini, who rarely speaks to the media, and the regional office of Coldiretti (Italy’s farmer and grape grower association) have publicly called on Italian government officials to classify the storm as a natural disaster and to declare a state of emergency.

Bad weather continues to affect central and southern Italy. Heavy rains have followed the blizzard over the weekend, causing major flooding in urban areas and further damage to vineyards and olive groves. Up to 1,500 persons were evacuated and schools were closed in Pescara according to reports today.

6 Responses to Abruzzo: blizzard “Attila” devastates vineyards, Valentini loses 50-year-old vines

  1. Monica Larner says:

    Great post. It’s important to bring awareness. I’m going to post this link to eBob because we’ve been talking about the terrible situation in Abruzzo. Thanks for all the excellent reporting!

  2. […] It’s hard to digest the news that continues to arrive in the wake of the blizzard that destroyed 2,700 hectares of vineyard in Abruzzo last week. […]

  3. Do Bianchi says:

    Monica, thanks for sharing this. It’s so heart-breaking to read the news that’s coming in.

    Bill, I believe that the Marches were spared the worst of it.

  4. […] was referring to last week’s blizzard, “Attila,” which destroyed roughly 2,700 hectares of vineyard…, including many historic growing sites owned by one of the leading winemakers in Abruzzo, Valentini […]

  5. […] reading about and seeing the aftermath of meteorological destruction in the week prior, it almost seemed as if […]

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