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"Another small bout of frost” for Chardonnay vines in Burgundy, Champagne, Jura...

By Vitisphere April 18, 2022
The cold snap was apparently centred on the north-eastern part of the area, with no damage in Beaujolais where temperatures dropped to 0 and -1°C. - crédit photo : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

ne week after the first frost, the mercury plummeted into negative temperatures early on Sunday 10 April, dropping to -1 to -4°C in parts of Champagne and-2 to -6°C in some vineyards in Burgundy. As this early stage, new damage to many vineyards cannot yet be assessed as the buds are still in the bud burst phase.

The Champagne marketing board (CIVC) is carrying out its field surveys this week, while the Champagne producers’ organisation hopes that later pruning will have averted a disaster. Initial feedback in Champagne is generally positive but some estates are afraid they will be affected individually, particularly after rainfall over the weekend.

Even with late pruning, fine weather over the past few weeks has caused Chardonnay vines around Beaune to grow at breakneck speed, says Thérèse Besancenot of the 10-hectare Domaine Besancenot, who noticed burnt buds on Sunday 10 April, due to lack of protection after temperatures dropped to -2°C. “We had no more candles, our suppliers are out of stock. Everything that had developed well is burnt. On a cane, that means 2 out of 6 buds. We hope that the secondary buds will start developing”, says Besancenot, who plans to invest in heating cables for the future.

In Burgundy, not everywhere was affected by frost over the weekend. The situation is varied, as François Labet, co-chairman of the Burgundy Wine Bureau (BIVB), summarises: “The Mâconnais is not really affected, Yonne (Auxerre and Chablis) were quite rattled last week and in the Côte de Beaune the strategic sites were protected on both nights. We will remain attentive until mid-May, hoping that flowering will occur in mild temperatures to secure the harvest.”

In Chablis, “some buds were mildly affected again (-3 to -3.5°C on Sunday morning)”, says Thierry Mothe, from the namesake estate in Yonne, pointing to the impact of Saturday's rain on dampness and possible damage.

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