“In winemakers’ memory … no one ever experienced such a severe freeze.” More freezes in the forecast.
27 Apr 2017 – Hard freezes in some of France’s famous wine-making regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, have caused extensive damage.
Temperatures plunged in all three regions last week, sometimes to below -7C (19°F).
In the Bugey region near Lyon, winemakers said the damage was extensive, with some vineyards totally destroyed.
“Frost destroyed everything – shoots are dead,” Julien Hubail, expert at the Bugey wine union, said. “In winemakers’ memory it had never happened, no one had ever experienced such a severe freeze.”
In Champagne the frost impact is worse than last year’s, and last year was down more than 20% from the year before that.
On average in Champagne, 20 to 25% of vine shoots had been destroyed by Tuesday against 14% destruction last year, said a spokesman for the Champagne Committee (CIVC) industry group. And that estimate did not include potential damage from frosts over the past two nights.
In the Bordeaux region, farm unions estimated that several thousand hectares of vineyards had experienced damage between 50 and 100%.
The entire Cognac vineyard has also been severely impacted.
Growers have been using candles, heaters, even helicopters in attempts save their crops. With additional freezes in the forecast, they fear the damage could increase even more.
* * *