The D81 at Epeigné-les-Bois mid-morning on Tuesday 30th May 2016
After nearly 200mm of rain in 48 hours le plan d’eau burst
and flowed over the road.
Weatherwise 2016 has been far from kind to the Loire. The winter was very mild and this was followed by a cold March and April. In the latter part of April there were a series of frosts – especially in the early morning of 27th April. Although overall the 2016 frosts have not been as devastating as those of 1991, many vignerons have been very badly hit. Those, who have only lost 10%-20% of their crop, are counting themselves as lucky.
Sunday 29th May saw the start of the deluge here in the Cher Valley. The amount of rain increased as you went further east into Touraine. In Tours, for instance, it was dry on the Sunday for the annual VitiLoire, which finished at 6pm before the rain started to fall.By which time Loches had already been flooded with landslips and walls falling due to the intensity of the rain.
Incidentally the two-day VitiLoire attracted a record 40,000 visitors making it a marvellous shop window for Loire wines. This makes it even more inexplicable and short-sighted that a few producers choose not to attend in person instead sending someone in their place. On the Saturday (28th) I visited one stand where the person standing in only had a sheet of technical details as a guide and was unable to answer questions. What a missed opportunity!
Here in Epeigné-les-Bois it rained heavily and pretty continuous from Sunday early afternoon through to mid-afternoon on Tuesday. By Monday our neighbour’s low lying garden had started to flood and by Tuesday 10am the water meadows by our stream – the Chezelles – had been engulfed by water.
Vegetable garden washed away for the force of the water
The Chezelles is only a small stream and drains just a small area, so although the floods were spectacular on Tuesday by Wednesday the waters had very considerably abated. However, the drama in Cher and other main Loire rivers was only just starting as draining a much larger area the river levels didn’t peak until several days later. Around Villandry , west of Tours, the peak for the Cher was Sunday afternoon (5th June). Ironically, of course, some of the towns downstream on the Cher have been seriously flooded by rain that fell upstream, while they had less of a deluge.
As far as I know few vineyards have been flooded, although there are reports of flooded vineyards in Chinon close to the Vienne. However, the heavy rain means it is difficult or impossible to get into the vineyards to spray against mildew. Fortunately until now it has remained cold but this week sees temperatures rising, so the threat of mildew will increase as everything is still very humid.
Lock house on the Cher just west of Château de Chenonceau
Flooding across the Cher Valley at Montrichard, where the
Cher burst its banks and flooded part of the town
The D81 becomes a stream between Francueil and Chisseaux (Friday 3rd June 2016)
Between Montrichard and Bléré – all the crossings of the Cher were flooded
It is now well over a month since the big frost and from a distance many of the vines look OK with green shoots pushing upwards. However, close inspection shows that in the frost affected vineyards this growth is coming from the trunk with very little in the way of potential bunches, while most of the buds on the cane are shrivelled and dead.
On a superficial glance from a distance all looks OK….
On closer inspection the frost damage is clear with
only the occasional bud surviving on a cane
(Vines in Ingrandes-de-Touraine)
Café de la Promenade – Nora and Samuel in charge
Les 5 du Vin spent an excellent weekend in early June 2012 staying at Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil, which was then run by Ludo and Sophie Ragot. It rapidly became one of David’s country homes.