Extreme weather has characterized the 2013 growing season in France (in addition to 2011 & ’12) and “after 1,350 hectares were wiped out in one afternoon, Burgundy producers are looking for ways to limit future damage.” Cloud seeding has been suggested as a possible solution.
Cloud seeding has been around for decades and was used with some success during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to prevent rain and combat air quality issues. It is now on the table in Burgundy as an option to combat their own tropospheric issue, the increasingly frequent occurrence of destructive hail storms. Unfortunately the decision to seed or not is tough. In this case, man-made weather will require a sacrifice of financial resources and principle.
As the birthplace and exemplar of terroir, the Cote d’Or carries the banner forward by proudly producing wines that speak of the growing conditions specific to each vintage. But if there are no grapes to turn into wine then there is no voice to speak of the land and the weather. This puts Burgundy producers at a crossroads. We must wait to see if they continue to express the terroir that Mother Nature provides, risking the loss of some or all of their fruit, or shell out money to safeguard the fruit but dilute the honesty of their terroir.