Frost catches secondary buds of Chardonnay in Burgundy

Tuesday May 11 2021 by Vitisphere

 Protected vineyard blocks are faring slightly better. Protected vineyard blocks are faring slightly better.

Frost in Burgundy has been particularly destructive this spring, and in the worst affected vineyards, the vegetation is only just starting to grow again. “It feels like winter. (...) The worst affected buds on the canes will not grow back and growth is focused on the crown and trunk”, stated the Côte d'Or Chamber of Agriculture in its Vitiflash bulletin on 27 April.

Carole Dumont, master pruner at Simonit & Sirch, concurred. “The situation is very challenging for the Chardonnays in the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise and northern Mâcon. Temperatures plummeted to -7 and -8°C with snow on the first and second day of the frost, at a time when all the buds had broken. The Chardonnays were between the green tip stage and one leaf separated, and in many cases, the secondary buds had emerged with the main bud. In vineyards where there was no protection, everything that had opened at the time of the frost was caught by the cold spell, including the secondary buds. And you can see the canes starting to dry out. Harvesting fruit this year will be very challenging”, she explained on 29 April, during the webinar ‘What to do after the frost’, hosted by Fruition Sciences.

Vineyard blocks that were protected are faring slightly better. “You can definitely see the difference with the others: in these blocks, the first buds have died but not the secondary buds. They are starting again and will yield a few grapes”, added Dumont.


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