Above: a few years ago, Tracie P, Alfonso, and I visited Angiolino Maule (right) on his Biancara estate in Gambellara. He is the founder of the natural wine association VinNatur and his extraordinary wines are dear to my heart.
In Italy they call it a “leopard-spot hailstorm,” in other words, a hail storm that capriciously hits small, delimited areas while sparing adjacent vineyards.
On Friday of last week, such a storm violently ripped through parts of northern Italy, striking some of the Veneto’s most prized Garganega vineyards in Gambellara (Vicenza province).
“Four hectares were hit hard,” Alessandro and Francesco Maule (Angiolino’s sons) are quoted as saying in the report.
The damaged sites represent roughly a third of the winery’s vineyards.
“There are no grapes left here and in the other two parcels [Monte di Mezzo and Taibane], we lost 80% of the bunches,” said the brothers. “We’re talking about our best growing sites. We are the masters of nothing! There will be no [vineyard-designated] Pico from the 2014 vintage although there will probably be some Recioto. It’s a disaster.”
“We lost at least half of the harvest,” said Claudio Zambon the local delegate for Coldiretti (the Italian agricultural union) in an interview published this week by VicenzaReport. “The damage was so bad that many plants will have to be moved.” Next year’s harvest, he noted, will probably be affected as well.
The storms will cost the appellation “hundreds of thousands of Euros,” he said.
Faenza province (Emilia-Romagna) was also hard hit by the storm. The image below was posted this week by Agronominvigna on its Facebook.
“Even the grass is gone,” wrote an Intravino reader who shared the Facebook link.