Beaucastel harnesses Mistral winds to cool cellars
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.