This May, two violent hailstorms hit parts of Italy’s Barolo zone and caused serious damage. One Serralunga d’Alba winemaker reported half of its crop was lost. La Morra and Serralunga were the areas hardest hit by the overnight storms, while the communes of Barolo, Verduno and Roddi were less affected. Still producers fear the damage will affect the quantity of Barolo production for 2010.
Sergio Germano, winemaker of Serralunga’s Ettore Germano estate, noted serious damage in his Lazzarito plot, but his rows in the nearby Prapo and Ceretta vineyards of Serralunga were only minimally harmed. Another winemaker in La Morra reported notable damage but was still assessing the damage.
Producers still believe the 2010 vintage can do well, provided this is the worst damage they face from Mother Nature. In the past, hail has completely destroyed entire vintages of Barolo. A 2002 storm caused more extensive and widespread damage in the region. Producer producer Elio Altare told Wine Spectator in 2002:
The hailstorm missed two of my vineyards, so I may be able to make some Barolo from these — maybe a quarter of the usual quantity — but only if the weather allows the grapes to mature properly, so that I can make decent wine.
After the 2002 storm, some vineyards lost the entire year’s harvest, while others were able to salvage as much as 30%. Even what was able to be saved depended on the weather after — a common sentiment was “If the sun comes out tomorrow, and we get a hot dry period from now till the harvest, we should be able to salvage something.” The 2010 vintage may also depend on the weather.