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Hail in Bordeaux, reporting from Château Bernateau in Saint Emilion

Bordeaux was hit by violent hailstorms on April 17. In Saint Emilion, Château Bernateau – that we were supposed to visit the day after on our Bordeaux spring tour, if everything had been normal – was hit, but not as much as they first feared, says owner Karine Lavau. But they needed to react quickly and start spraying the vineyard as more rain was expected. And it also came.

Château Bernateau is an organic vineyard and Karine and her husband Pierrick can therefore only use contact products, such as copper and sulphur, to protect the vines against fungal diseases. To make these products more effective, they added a mixture of plants – comfrey, nettle and horsetail – to “promote the natural resistance of the vines, eliminate the stress brought about by the hailstorm and help the vegetation to recover”, says Karine.

Nettles and horsetail are both used in biodynamic agriculture (Bernateau is not biodynamic) and are considered to have many useful properties. Nettles make copper more effective and horsetail, which contains sulphur, is used as an anti-fungal product.


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Hail at Chateau Bernateau, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux

Hail at Chateau Bernateau, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, copyright Chateau Bernateau

Grape reception at Château Bernateau, Bordeaux

Grape reception at Château Bernateau, Bordeaux, copyright BKWine Photography

Fermentation vats at Château Bernateau, Bordeaux

Fermentation vats at Château Bernateau, Bordeaux, copyright BKWine Photography

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