The battle of endurance against spring frosts has started in France

Monday April 06 2020 by Vitisphere

Muscadet is being kept on its toes and is preparing for more frost this spring and this vintage but also the following vintages as budburst is occurring increasingly earlier.Muscadet is being kept on its toes and is preparing for more frost this spring and this vintage but also the following vintages as budburst is occurring increasingly earlier. - Photo credit : Domaine Brégeon (Fred Lallier)

After a winter more like spring, France’s wine regions are now experiencing a spring more like winter, particularly Muscadet. With bud burst now occurring - two weeks early - and the first leaves separating, morning temperatures bordered on -1 to -2°C on March 25, 26 and 27. Having suffered from repeated frost damage over the last few vintages, winegrowers in Muscadet saw the cold snap coming and equipped themselves accordingly. “There are more candles lit than last year. We have been seeing purchases of mobile and fixed fan systems and experiments with plastic film on buds”, commented François Robin, tasked with communications at the Nantes Wine Federation.

I am using candles for the first time on one hectare, in addition to a mobile wind turbine purchased in 2018 (which covers one hectare). I am increasingly better equipped because every time frost occurs, we are affected”, said winegrower Fred Lallier of Domaine Michel Brégeon. Also anticipating a frosty spring, Vincent Dugué deployed candles for the first time on a hectare of young Muscadet and Chardonnay vines belonging to the Couillaud brothers. “The temperature dropped to -1°C at 7 o'clock on March 27, but at the green shoot tip stage you can get away with it. I didn't light the candles and am keeping them at the ready for the next frosts, which will be more significant and dangerous”, explains Dugué.

For the next few weeks, “we are in a high-risk phase”, sums up François Robin.

 

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