Update 12.4.2019(5.4.2019)billn

Earlier in the week I showed you images of the candles and wind-machines that were waiting in the vines – because this was forecast.

Above is an image shared by Olivier Lamy in St.Aubin, taken last-night, but I’ve seen pictures from Chablis and the rest of the Côte d’Or – e.g. Sylvie Esmonin’s Clos St.Jacques – not just with candles burning through last-night, but also the return of burning straw in Santenay, Savigny and Volnay.

On the positive side, temperatures were ‘only’ about -1°C to -3°C in the Côte d’Or but as low as -4°C in Chablis, and only a small percentage of the buds have actually started to open – we are of-course much earlier in the growing season than when the big frost of 2016 (and Chablis 2017) hit. On the negative side, there is surely still some modest damage and the total cost can’t be calculated before the fruit-set – i.e. how well the flowering goes and how that translates to (latent) grapes on the vines.

Growers in Pouilly-Fuissé and St.Véran shake their heads when asked about the frost – ‘I’m sure we have some losses – but it’s too early to tell‘ is a composite response.

The situation is similar in Beaujolais; temperatures as low as -3°C, and whilst the vast majority of buds were not yet open, there is still some expectation of reduced yields – all the way from the crus to the south of the appellation – I asked half a dozen vignerons from north to south Beaujolais, and they are anticipating 10-15% losses in the gamay, more in the chardonnay. All say, however, that it will depend on whether the vines keep pushing over the next couple of weeks, or whether the frost causes a pause in growth – if the latter, then they are sure that they will have lost more…

I will, of-course, keep you posted. We have one more night that may bring some frost – tonight – though perhaps not in Chablis as the clouds may offer protection there – before calmer weather returns…

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