Mildew, Plasmopara viticola, is the most dangerous fungal disease for the vineyards.
Originating in America, it arrived in Europe in the 19th century, and destroyed all the grapes. Growers rapidly found the cure by spraying copper (bouillie bordelaise) on the vines.
Mildew develops very quickly in wet conditions. The Languedoc and the south of Europe (Italy and Spain) are not usually affected, thanks to their sunny, dry weather conditions.
But spring 2018 in those regions was very wet, with rainfall every week, and the mildew development was very hard to control – sometimes impossible – especially for organic farmers. It seems that Bordeaux, Rhône Valley, Spain and Italy are also affected.
We are now touring the vineyards, and we think the crop will be down by at least 20% due to mildew damage, even more for organic grapes. We are confident however that by working closely with our partners, we will have the correct qualities and volumes.
The other important information about the 2018 crop is the hail storm that destroyed about 30% of the Limoux area three weeks ago.
Every vintage is a different story, but 2018 has no equivalent in Languedoc memory regarding the widespread mildew.
We always embrace a challenge at LGI! We are keeping our fingers crossed for the ripening season now.