vineyard fires

Vineyard fires ward of chill in France

Stories out of several locations in Europe report a devastating freeze last week with some vineyards losing up to 80% of their shoots from temperatures as low as –5 degrees C. The final tally of the damage isn’t in yet but vineyards from Germany, central and Southern France, Switzerland and Northern Italy all report significant damage.

Young shoots are extremely vulnerable to Spring freezes that interrupt the vines’ growing cycle.  Obviously not everyone will be equally affected. Some wineries set fires, deploy helicopters  or use heaters and wind machines to ward of the frost with varying degrees of success. And some winemakers are hopeful other vines might still flower to replace some of the damage. But 2017 could be a very lean year with low yields throughout Europe.

Update: Here is a grim report out of Bordeaux.