France in cold shock

The cold spell is dramatically affecting France's wine-growing regions.

Fire to protect the shoots in Burgundy / Credit: Domaine Belleville, Bourgogne
Fire to protect the shoots in Burgundy / Credit: Domaine Belleville, Bourgogne

For the third night in a row, freezing temperatures have been extremely hard on France's vineyards. Due to the mild temperatures last week, the vegetation in some vineyards is already quite advanced and the recent frost could cause big damage in some regions, according to the French media.

During the night of 5 April, the regions around Burgundy were mostly affected with temperatures reaching down to -7°C. On the nights of 6 and 7 April, nearly all areas were severely affected.

From Languedoc to Provence, the entire Mediterranean arc was severely affected. In the Rhône valley, previously favoured by the Mistral wind, the thermometer had fallen as low as -9°C last night. According to the Association Technique Viticole (ATV), the department of Maine-et-Loire is already reporting the first damage to buds and young shoots. In Champagne, only the later budding Pinot Meunier vines fared somewhat better. Some areas, such as the Jura, hope that the snowfall there was able to protect the buds. Bordeaux, which was spared the first night of frost, also had to contend with temperatures as low as -6°C during the last two nights. 

In many places, straw fires were lit in the vineyards or the vines were sprinkled to limit the damage. The winegrowers at the Hermitage used helicopters. The extent of the damage cannot yet be determined.

Even though the situation is expected to ease towards the weekend, further frosty nights are forecast for the coming week. itp
 

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