The spring cold snap that we have just experienced has become almost recurrent. It generally follows a fairly mild period, during which the buds were able to emerge, and this frost, which can sometimes reach -9°C, endangers these new buds and the winemaker's overall production. Indeed, the buds can withstand up to -3°C, but beyond that, the sap risks freezing and killing the embryonic tissues of the flower and leaves.
Today, we decided to give you a little overview of the different techniques used by winegrowers, the main idea being to warm the air around the vines and prevent the vines from cooling.
Candles or braziers
A natural and fairly widespread method is the arrangement of large candles in the vineyard. You saw it last week, the result is magnificent. We are also seeing the appearance of braziers or even heating fans, less natural but just as effective, this will help warm the ambient air around the vines and prevent frost.
Photo credit: Titouan Rimbault
Also widespread, the use of heaters can save up to 3°C at the vines. But this technique is not very environmentally friendly because it emits carbon dioxide.
Like candles, braziers or heaters, the objective of propane burners is to heat the ambient air.
By stirring the air, the small wind turbines, 11 meters high, will redirect slightly warmer air towards the vines. Each wind turbine helps protect up to 6 hectares of vines.
This technique seems surprising at first glance but is also impressive, it consists of spraying the vines with water. The buds are then placed in an ice pack while preventing the water contained in the sap from freezing. It is still a delicate practice, because the ice pack must not melt too quickly, the objective is therefore to water the plots until the temperatures rise.
Sprinkling at Domaine De Lozey
Finally, some estates use helicopters, a bit in the same way as wind turbines, by flying at low altitude, they allow the air to be mixed and therefore warm the air at the level of the vines. This method, however, in addition to being quite unecological, is quite expensive and dangerous, because it is carried out at dawn, when the light is low.
We send lots of good vibes to all our winegrowers who have to fight every year to keep their vines alive.