23 April 2017


Compare these photos to the ones I posted yesterday. Leaves in the vineyard that were green and tender are now brown and crisp because of the recent freeze.

The damage is spotty. Don't get the idea that the whole vineyard looks like this. But too much of it does. The weather has warmed up now, but predictions are for more cold weather later this coming week.

On some "canes" (or sarments), one set of leaves is green and untouched, while another, nearby, is crinkled and brown. It's hard to understand how some leaves froze and others didn't.

Nobody yet knows how much the 2017 grape harvest will be reduced because of these two or three cold April days. As a consumer, it matters to me, because wine prices will inevitably go up. I've already seen local prices double over the past 14 years. And it certainly matters to people who are trying to make a living by growing grapes and making and selling wine.

These are the "smudge pots" that the owners of the Domaine de la Renaudie wine operation set out and lit in a couple of vineyard plots to try to limit the damage. They're called bougies antigel in French — bougie means "candle." I think the theory is that the heat released from the fires in these pots creates air currents that keep frigid air from settling at ground level and freezing tender new growth. These bougies were set out in every other row of a parcel of vines (Chardonnay grapes) and every few meters for the length of the long rows.


  1. I kept thinking about drones yesterday. If helicopters helped somewhat, surely drones could be used in a more targeted way to the same effect.

  2. Won't they just prune the vines after the risk of frost is over ? if there is any frost damage now .

  3. From what I've read, it seems that after the primary bud is killed by a freeze, secondary buds may appear but they won't produce nearly as many grapes. So the harvest will be reduced.

  4. So stressful for the grape growers :(

  5. So stressful ! to worry and watch and be basically helpless against the weather ..


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?