The new François Chidaine winery under construction: 
early April 2013 in Husseau

The underground section of the winery: October 2012

Following Monday's devastating hail storm in Vouvray here are three articles here, here and here urging us to do what we can to help. Although the hail only lasted 15 minutes or so, its effects may well be long lasting affecting not only this vintage but the next as well. The French Minister of Agriculture has offered assistance and while financial aid will doubtless be welcome it won't replace markets that may well be lost through a lack of wine to sell.
It will hit young vignerons just starting out but may well also hit established growers who have embarked on projects requiring significant funding. If a business is to progress it must invest and to be hit by two very difficult years climatically is very tough. One example highlighted today is François Chidaine (Montlouis, Vouvray and Touraine) hit in 2012 and now again in 2013. We have to hope that his bankers will continue to support him as the Loire needs high quality producers like François.
Unfortunately the bad news does not stop there with reports and photos today of heavy downpours and flooding in Chinon and elsewhere ... and we are still waiting for the flowering to start as we move closer to July.