Reluctance by insurers to provide cover forces Cognac growers to equip themselves against frost damage

Jeudi 09 avril 2020 par Vitisphere

  On average, installation costs range from €35,000 for 3 hectares with a mobile fan to over €50,000 for 5 hectares for a fixed turbine.
On average, installation costs range from €35,000 for 3 hectares with a mobile fan to over €50,000 for 5 hectares for a fixed turbine. - crédit photo : UGVC

If we don't use it, that’s good news for everyone!” exclaimed Didier Bureau, chairman of the Agricultural Equipment Co-operative for Cognac Winegrowers (CUMA Viti Cognac). Early budburst and the risk of morning frosts prompted the co-operative’s 42 members to deploy a network of 49 fixed wind turbines and 30 mobile units in Charente and Charente-Maritime at the end of March. The 79 fans can protect 500 hectares of vines, which by Didier Bureau’s own admission is “a drop in the ocean of AOC Cognac’s 80,000 hectares of vines”.  

25,000 hectares are deemed to be frost-prone in Cognac, and the co-operative is therefore planning to install 80 more turbines in 2021. “With weather hazards becoming a recurring problem, the system is attracting a lot of interest”, explains Bureau. A series of mild winters promoting early budburst and cool springs making areas prone to frost are also causing some insurance companies to breach contracts. “Insurers are withdrawing from the system, they no longer want to insure anything where there is a risk. They are reacting like bankers”, said a critical Bureau.

The wind turbines were tested at the end of March and will start to operate at the beginning of April. “Our greatest concern is the full moon on April 25. In the Cognac region, the potential for frost is still highest between 20 April and 10 May”, warns Bureau, hoping that this first season with the fans will deliver on its promise of protection.

 

RÉAGISSEZ A L'ARTICLE

Recopier le code :
Processing
Voir toutes les réactions
© Vitisphere 2020 - Tout droit réservé