Chilean vineyards on alert following severe frosts

Mercredi 09 octobre 2013 par Vitisphere

Chilean vineyards on alert following severe frosts

On the 3rd of October, the Chilean Agricultural Minister, Luis Mayol declared the VI Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Region « in a state of emergency, in order to allow actions to be put in place to support the producers » who have been affected by the recent bout of frost. The chilean argicultural industry will need the support of the government if they are to overcome the harvest losses that they have incurred in the fruit and vegetable sector. Starting in the middle of last month, the frosts were at their worst on the 28th and 29th of September. The chilean wine-growing industry has been affected, most notably in the Casablanca Valley, the most prolific wine-producing region.

According to Areo del Vino the earlier grapes, such as chardonnay and pinot noir, were affected just as they began to bud, potentially causing a large drop in their production. Although the Chilean wine-growing regions are used to spring frosts (the Casablanca Valley was also affected in 2005 and 2007), the intensity and the length of this bout are not normal and have rendered the usual methods of protection (using sprinklers to diffuse water, forming a protective vapour or spreading warmer air via a helicopter) obselete. On the international market, Chilean wines are mainly traded in bulk (Spain have increased their imports twenty-fold in the first half of 2013).

 

[Photo : Santa Rita, vineyard in the Casablanca Valley]

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