Impressive hailblast

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vignahail

our new vineyard in contrada Porcaria

 

Last night we woke up around 11PM from the sound of hail knocking heavily on our windows at home. We were under an impressive thunderstorm with lightnings illuminating the whole Northern valley of Etna and hail coming down with incredible power and intensity as well as quantity.

Hail is one of the worst enemies of a vintner and so my fear of damage was great, even though the butts are not open yet as winter is still settled in the valley here. Nothing one can do at this time of night and so we plugged out all the current of every piece of equipment, closed the inside wooden window panels to avoid damage and went back to bed.

The morning presented an incredible scenery with an apparent ‘’snow’’ cover which really was a layer of hail, as thick as 15cm in Solicchiata and up to 25cm in Passopisciaro where the cellar is located!

cantinahail

cellar entrance

 

Checking out the vineyards this morning for damage, I noticed some butts had been destroyed and others damaged. As we prune short, we have less butts on the vines in general and so this will be a loss in grapes for this coming vintage 2012. Too early to calculate the loss and so we will see.

clarahail

Clara holding hailballs fallen at night in our ungrafted Chiusa Spagnolo vineyard

 

What does make me think is that, in 12 years living and working here, I have never had a “simple”vintage here, except for 2001 when I started… Every year has so far presented us with a new surprise or barrier to master, manage, cure or accept and I feel that living here on Etna is like learning to live with damage and difficulty.

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