In Italy, the initial outcry about the frost damage was probably greater than the actual loss. The Veneto, Tuscany and Piedmont are said to be mainly affected. However, the extent of the damage is just being researched.
"We have sent a questionnaire to our producers to get an exact picture. In general, vines in warm locations where the budding was already four centimetres or longer have suffered most. To what extent damaged vines can regenerate also depends on the further course of the climatic conditions," comments Andrea Battistella, the oenologist and vice director of the Prosecco DOC consortium.
In Piedmont, the situation is confusing. The Barolo, Barbaresco & Co. consortium says that the situation with Nebbiolo is varied and difficult to quantify. The ripening phase is not the same for all shoots and, therefore, some on the same vine may be intact while others are damaged. The vineyards at a moderate altitude, where the shoots are already more developed, are said to have suffered the most. However, the situation was much less severe than in the late frost of 2017, which came two weeks later and wreaked havoc in all the vineyards. The area of Nizza Monferrato and the valleys of the Belbo and Tiglione are said to be more affected, according to the Coldiretti farmers' association.
In Tuscany, Fabrizio Bindocci, president of the Brunello Consortium, provides information. "The temperature has dropped below zero, but the damage is limited because a large part of the shoots is still asleep and for the others we trust in a second budding that will take care of everything," Bindocci warns. More precise assessments will be published in the coming weeks. vc