Fires have literally reduced some vineyards in France to rubble. According to reports, more than 7,000 hectares have been destroyed and two people have died so far. The fire broke out in the Var department in southern France and spread quickly due to strong winds. The probable cause: a discarded cigarette.
Numerous wineries were evacuated. Among others, the Domaine Mirabeau in Provence, which had only recently launched its first wine from its own cultivation, is affected. "There are three vineyards near us that have been completely destroyed, it's really devastating," owner Stephen Cronk is quoted by the British BBC. Outbuildings of the winery and parts of the vineyard were destroyed. "For us it is uncertain whether we will harvest or not," Cronk continued. "For me personally, it's heartbreaking. We were hit by two frosts, and now the worst forest fire in decades."
Meanwhile, according to French industry media, hailstorms began to fall after the fires, for example in Pignans, a small town not far from Gonfaron, where a source of fire was traced. Further northwest, hailstones measuring up to three centimetres fell in the vicinity of Pourrières near Aix-en-Provence. Photos of damaged vineyards and grapes ready for harvest appeared on social networks. aw/sw