What is this - Equal Opportunity Hail?
When I was a kid back in the 1960s, I'd come from school and one of the TV stations always showed movies after school . . . every once in a while, they'd do "theme weeks": Westerns, Romance, Oscar winners (well, this was LA), SciFi . . . and whenever they would show a week of 1950s Japanese monster movies (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, etc.), the promo ad for that upcoming week would show Tokyo being destroyed over and over with the announcer doing the voice over touting the upcoming special week of films. He would close by saying, "So join us all next week for the Channel 7 movie show as we try to figure out: WHY JAPAN . . . "
That's a longwinded way of saying we're all trying to figure out, "Why France???"
So here is the other thought. And please feel free to shoot down this big fat conjecture as needed.
Massive pruning by hail will result in concentration of effort in the remaining grapes. If conditions are conducive to a vintage harvest, would that not indicate quantity purchases of the harvest for those with the ability to cellar wines?
That's not how hail affects the vines . . .
Hail doesn't prune. It destroys.
-- Leaves are not plucked from the shoot; they may remain attached but are shredded.
-- Clusters are not removed by the stem, but are bombarded by hailstones. This will result in some clusters ripped off and tossed on the ground, yes, but mostly it results in grapes being broken open yet staying attached to the cluster, and the cluster staying attached to the vine.
-- Canes are not carefully pruned from the vine, but battered and broken by the impact of the hailstones. (Think of bending back a green branch of a tree until it breaks, and then leave it bent-and-broken on the tree.)
This can result not only in rotten and moldy grapes, but leaves the vines themselves open to disease, infestation, and more.