12 April 2019

L'hiver en avril

Morning temperatures are supposed to be down to freezing, or even slightly below, these next few mornings. This is a critical time for fruit trees and especially for the vineyards and the people who own and tend them. We had warm, sunny weather early this year, back in late February and again in mid- to late March, so the plants got ahead of themselves and are especially vulnerable to frost and freezing temperatures right now.

Yesterday the people from the Domaine de la Renaudie, who own all of the vineyard plots that border on our hamlet and yard, came and set out smudge pots on the northern edge of their vineyards. A north wind is blowing right now, and it's cold. Afternoons are warm but mornings are frigid. I guess lighting what are called bougies ("candles" — smudge pot = bougie antigel) on the upwind edge of the vineyard plots will warm the air currents just enough to prevent freezing. That's the theory and the hope anyway. You might remember this post Walt did with photos of the burning bougies back in 2017.

I was up early this morning. I couldn't sleep for most of the night. Anyway, it's 5:05 a.m. right now and a couple of cars just drove by the front gate. That's unusual. I'm sure it's the Renaudie crew out lighting the smudge pots. We all remember that we were in this same situation two years ago. (My photos in this post are from April 2017.) Right now, the apple trees in our yard are covered in blossoms, as is our big lilac bush. Cherry trees all around the vineyard are blooming too. The plum tree I planted a decade ago is covered in tiny plums. We can only hope the damage won't be too bad. The people who will suffer the most if the frost is very damaging are the ones who make their living by growing grapes and making and selling wine.


  1. I hope the frost doesn't get to you first plums! Or any of the vines. Our temps are in the mid eighties already, probably the beginning of a hot summer.

    1. The Renaudie vineyard crew didn't light the "candles" this morning after all. It was chilly when I went out on the morning walk with Tasha at 7:30, and there was some frost on the grass out back, but I guess it wasn't a damaging frost. Tomorrow morning and Sunday morning are predicted to be slightly colder.

  2. Would love to see a pic of your yard in bloom.


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