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WORLD: Fear as Worst Frost Episode Damages Vineyards in France

Temperatures in France have been dropping to near sub-zero levels as a raging frost wreaks havoc in vineyards across the country. Reports from the Inter Rhone trade association reveal that some plots have been dramatically affected up to 100% but they are yet to measure the full extent of the frost damage which may take a little longer to determine.

To aid recovery of the vines, many winemakers are lighting candles and controlled fires next to rows of their precious vines to help protect the emerging 2021 crop from another sudden drop in temperatures. Others opted to fly helicopters above their vineyards which help prevent frost accumulation by warming up the air.

Controlled fires used to warm up rows of vines in a vineyard.

Other hard hit areas include Bordeaux, Chablis , Burgundy, Vitoux and Macon with some areas experiencing extreme to varying degree changes.

In the aftermath of a trade war with the EU (caused by new tariffs imposed by former US president Donald Trump), the closure of many restaurants and bars around the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – the frosts add onto an already piling series of issues affecting the wine industry.

Many French farmers blame global warming for some of the erratic weather being experienced and with the effect of changing the character of French wine vintages. Some grapes may now need to be harvested up to three weeks earlier than they were only a few decades ago.

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Sources: The Financial Times (FT) & The Decanter

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