This week has been quite a week for the vineyard. The weather has been a bit of everything; we’ve had sun (always welcome in Spring) rain (which we needed after such a dry month) hail (which we can do without thanks) snow (not now thanks) and the worst of all frost (never welcome)
Luckily we have got away relatively unscathed, and it seems that mostly vineyards towards the coast have faired better with the frosts that have been devastating here in the UK and across Western Europe. Some are saying the worst in 27 years.
The problem of frost at this time of year is always a worry for grapegrowers, particularly when we have had such a warm spring that has got the vines growing well early. We began our year earlier than normal due to the warm weather earlier this month, in some instances a good 2 weeks earlier than the norm, had we not had this growth the threat of frost would not have been a concern. The vines shoots would be tucked up in their buds or only just emerging and are better adapted to the cold. The other big issue is the mass of cold air that hit the country over the last week, which has plummeted temperatures and caused frosts more severe than normal and also the type of frost that it has caused. Advection frost (which this type was) is notoriously difficult to fight, and is basically a cold mass of air, most frost protection techniques can raise temperatures by only a few degrees while some are only effective against a radiation type of frost (the normal type- cool clear nights).
Luckily the overwhelming majority of the vineyard still looks like the above images. We have only had damage on a few dozen vines generally at the lower parts of the slopes so we’ve been lucky and there will be plenty of crop to harvest this year.
Here’s to being near the coast and many more frost free nights.