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Producers of Côtes de Provence wines in the Var could not do anything against the flames: if the vines withstood the biggest fire of the summer in France rather well, the material losses are enormous, and some say “annihilated”.
In Grimaud, in the hinterland of Saint-Tropez, Paul Giraud, a winegrower who owns 25 ha of vines producing red, white and of course rosé de Provence, a very popular wine for export, saw the flames taking all his agricultural equipment. “I do not have a grape harvester, a backhoe loader, a vineyard loader, a mower anymore. Everything burned down”: still in shock, he walks in circles in his Tourre estate, in a deep valley in the Massif des Maures.
On Monday evening, a fire that started from a motorway rest area a few miles from his home devastated his property. “The harvest takes place at the beginning of September, what am I going to do? I have nothing left,” wonders the 70-year-old man, who is struggling to hold back tears. “Am I going to have to hire a service provider or rent equipment?” During the terrible fire of 2003 in the same area, in which three firefighters had perished, Mr. Giraud‘s estate had escaped the fire. This time, he could do nothing against the looming flames “three meters” from his house when the fire department arrived.
Further north, near the village of Luc, another winegrower also producing Côtes de Provence believes he has “avoided the worst”. Guillaume de Chevron Villette, owner of the Reillanne estate, testified: “We saved our buildings, that is the most important. Otherwise, it’s a disaster.”
“We are a few days before the harvest. There will inevitably be damage to the crop. We produce a quality rosé wine, so the challenge will surely be to eliminate the risk of the presence of a burnt taste in the wine,” he explains.
If the vines resist fire well, “the fruits have been very hot, and we will have to throw some away”, thinks Nicolas Garcia, from the Côtes de Provence appellation union. “We will not be able to harvest the vines sprayed with a retardant product” for the fire.
The Côtes de Provence appellation of origin covers more than 20,000 ha in three departments: Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and a municipality in the Alpes-Maritimes. Rosé wines from Provence are exported in particular to the United States, Great Britain and European countries such as Germany.
Based on terredevins.com