Spring Frost in France Causes Up to 90% Reduction in Vineyard Yields

Frost has severely impacted vineyards throughout France, leading some winemakers to estimate a 90% reduction in this year’s yield.

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Frost has severely impacted vineyards throughout France, leading some winemakers to estimate a 90% reduction in this year’s yield.

Europe’s wine regions have recently faced threats of frost due to a late-season cold snap. In France, to safeguard the 2024 harvest, vineyards have resorted to traditional methods of burning torches to warm up vines.

According to Meteored, a weather forecasting site, Europe is currently experiencing significant temperature swings this April. Early in the month, temperatures were above average, bringing an early taste of summer or late spring warmth to many regions. However, by mid-April, a surge of cold air reintroduced winter conditions across the continent, resulting in snowfall and frost in the plains.

At this point, grapevines had already begun to bud and grow new shoots. The abrupt arrival of extreme cold air put these vulnerable new shoots at risk of frost damage.

In response, winegrowers have burned torches in the vineyards, to fend off cold air. Recent footage from the Chablis region depicted such measures being implemented.

The same strategy was employed in the southwest of France. Photos show a worker in the Saint-Emilion region spreading burning straw on the vineyard soil to create a smokescreen, which helps keep the temperature just above freezing, thus protecting the vines from the cold snap.

Despite these efforts, some vineyards have already suffered losses. “Everything froze [over the last few days],” said winemaker Cyril Raveau from the Côte-d’Or department. “This year, we’re going to harvest maybe 10% of a normal crop,” he added.

His vineyard usually makes 60,000 bottles of wine annually, but will struggle to make 6,000 this year “if he is lucky,” he told France3.

 

Source: Vino-Joy 

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