Unfortunately, on June 14th a bad rainstorm hit the region: for just a few minutes the hills were splashed with heavy rain, which in some areas started out as hail. Hailstorms here are normally very brief and localized: this time it hit the southwest part of the village of Barbaresco and was more "wet" (mixed with water) in the northern part.
Other villages in the DOCG area were not effected. The loss of crop varied from 20% to 80% depending on the hillside.
When hailstorms arrive so early in the season the actual damage is never as bad as it may appear: clusters are still undeveloped and green; the affected berries dry out and fall; and after a couple of weeks growth re-starts normally. The major effect is a reduction in the size of the crop, which, as we know, is not bad at all.
The one crucial condition for a good recovery from a hail storm is good summer weather, which is what happened in 1999. Despite some days of high humidity, most of the summer was rainless and September remained very dry. Harvest at the Produttori started on October 1st, and the weather remained ideal all through the month.
The last crop of the century brought us Nebbiolo grapes of excellent quality, producing intensely coloured and balanced wines in the same league with the splendid previous vintages.