Is The Winter Over?

By Matthew Saunders | Blog

Feb 12
almond blossom

frost damaged vines  almond blossom  vivisud 2016

Here in the Languedoc we are going through a pretty confused period ! The almond blossom is in full swing, daffodils are showing and today I saw a builder in a vest and shorts !

All of this is great news if you have bought a house here in the south of France to while away your retirement lapping up the sunshine that global warming is providing in February ………. but, what if a very likely frost happens to grasp the early budding vines? bringing one of your other reasons for living in France into deep danger (Great wine !)

The risk is real and while we enjoy the untimely warmth that nature is providing at the moment, spare a thought for a sparse harvest this year for all our fruit and veg.

The subject of frost damage is a vast and complex subject with a huge amount of variables concerning cause and effect.

The climate of the growth origin is the greatest factor for obvious reasons ( although current climate trends are turning this issue on its head !)  and although there are ways in which we alleviate or impede the effect of frost damage via the use of expensive artificial in-vine heating systems or wind based machinery or even direct cover, we are actually always in the hands of what mother nature is giving us in any given year.

Grape variety is also lending a hand in the ongoing struggle against frost, as a now available huge variety of grapes bud at different times of the year and at different speeds. However the best grape variety concerning  frost may not be the best geographically or indeed may not play a part in AOP’s or other regional appellations.

Whilst insurances are available against frost, hail and other natural threats to growth, they are not cheap, so not an option to all producers. Risk will always play a part in the production of all arable farming and anxious farmers will always have to find new ways of dealing with climate change. Right now in the Languedoc, we all have our fingers crossed!

This month you can discover more fantastic wine info, facts and tastings at Vinisud in Montpellier  (15, 16, 17 Feb ) – wonderful wines, whatever the weather!

A great article to read this month is: http://articles.extension.org/pages/31768/frost-injury-frost-avoidance-and-frost-protection-in-the-vineyard

#Languedoc and support your local producers ! whatever the price !

Happy Reading, Happy Drinking, Chin Chin !

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