French winemakers take a sad balance after “decades of bad frost”

Wine growers across France are taking stock after several nights of frost this week. Some of them tried to protect their vineyards by lighting candles and straw bales.

In the well-known wine regions of Chablis, Burgundy and Bordeaux, the temperature dropped to minus 6 degrees Celsius at night, causing much damage to already well-developed shoots in early spring. Meanwhile, the French government is preparing an emergency aid package after exceptional freezing temperatures.

On Friday, winemakers across France inspected them Vineyards To determine destruction. “It breaks like glass because there’s no water in it,” said Dominic Kignard, a winemaker near Bordeaux, who told AFP that the first shoots of his vines had been cut off. “He’s completely dehydrated, with no life in it.”

Wine experts say the damage caused by exceptionally low temperatures could be the worst in decades, as snowfall followed last week’s unusually hot weather.

“This is a national event,” Jerome Despey, general secretary of the Agricultural Association and brewer in the Herald, told AFP. “You can go back in history. There were frosts in 1991, 1997, 2003, but in my opinion it all transcends.”

Fight the fire

Tried differently on Tuesday and Wednesday nights French wine growers Fight the frost by lighting fires and candles next to their flags. For example, winemaker Laurent Binson previously told Reuters that he owns 300 to 600 large paraffin candles over most of his 14-hectare vineyard.

“The harvest is in danger in a few nights – one, two or three nights. If we don’t have the harvest, there is no sale, there is no alcohol for the consumers,” he said.

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“Agricultural disaster

In addition to wine producers, growers of kiwis, apricots, apples and other fruits are also badly affected, as are growers of other crops such as beets and rapeseed. During a visit to the Louvre, French Minister of Agriculture Julian Denormandi spoke of “a chapter of extreme strength that caused the most damage.”

The government has declared it an “agricultural disaster”, meaning it will take action to provide financial assistance to farmers. Tenormandi also called on banks and insurance companies to take part in these efforts. He says several lakh hectares of agricultural land have been affected.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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