Beau­cas­tel har­nesses Mistral winds to cool cel­lars

Decanter - - A MONTH IN WINE -

Château DE Beau­cas­tel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape has re­vealed the se­ri­ous dam­age wrought by mildew on the 2018 har­vest and an­nounced a multi-mil­lion-euro ren­o­va­tion project, aimed at har­ness­ing the Mistral wind.

Beau­cas­tel’s owners, the Per­rin fam­ily, pro­vided a snap­shot of the fight against the mildew faced by many french wine­mak­ers this year, es­ti­mat­ing that this year’s crop was less than half its nor­mal size.

A rare mildew at­tack at the end of May im­pacted flow­er­ing and fo­liage, re­sult­ing in a yield as low as 12hl/ha, said fifth-gen­er­a­tion César Per­rin at a press con­fer­ence held in Paris.

‘The last time this hap­pened was in 1947,’ Per­rin said of the ‘very sud­den’ at­tack, adding that the gre­nache vines had been the worst hit.

‘At least the Mistral winds helped to aer­ate the vines, so we were able to de-leaf and save most syrah and Mourvè­dre, which were not ini­tially at­tacked,’ said Per­rin.

Charles Per­rin an­nounced ren­o­va­tion plans, cost­ing €10m, that will har­ness the cooling ef­fect of the re­gion’s Mistral wind to bring down cel­lar tem­per­a­tures and limit the use of ar­ti­fi­cial air.

The project will use pipes to chan­nel the wind un­der­ground, where it will be cooled by a 10m-deep basin filled with rain­wa­ter be­fore reach­ing the cel­lar, ac­cord­ing to louis-An­toine grégo of stu­dio Mum­bai, the ar­chi­tects ap­pointed to do the work

‘Noth­ing will be re­moved, noth­ing new will be added,’ said grégo, who em­pha­sised the eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of the project, which will also in­volve a back-up sys­tem pow­ered by bio­fuel.

Ren­o­va­tion plans are ex­pected to start af­ter the 2019 har­vest and to last 18 months.

CŽsar Per­rin

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