South America counts cost of frost

24th October, 2013 by Gabriel Stone

Producers on both sides of the Andes are reporting significant damage to their earliest flowering varieties as a result of the severe frosts which hit many regions last month.

Santa Rita Estates' Leyda vineyard, one of the worst hit areas

Santa Rita Estates’ Leyda vineyard, one of the worst hit areas

Among the Chilean vineyards belonging to Santa Rita Estates, which span Maipo, Colchagua and Casablanca, vineyards in the latter region experienced the most severe damage from the sudden mid-September cold spell, the country’s worst frost in 84 years.

“Leyda in the flat areas was especially damaged,” reported Sebastian Labbé, the group’s head winemaker for its Carmen brand, although he noted that irrigation sprinklers helped to create a protective “igloo” around many of the vines. Meanwhile in Maipo the producer managed to limit damage by using helicopters to circulate air.

Although the full scale of the damage will not become clear until later in the growing season, Labbé estimated that the country as a whole was likely to see total volumes fall by “15-18%” as a result of the frost.

“The main problems were for Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – the early flowering ones,” he reported. “Sauvignon Blanc flowers a little later so it was ok.”

Over in Argentina’s viticultural heartland of Mendoza, Doña Paula head winemaker David Bonomi suggested that “about 50%” of the producer’s Chardonnay had been affected. However

Heaters guard against frost at Doña Paula's Los Indios vineyards in Uco Valley

Heaters guard against frost at Doña Paula’s Los Indios vineyards in Uco Valley

he too emphasised: “we don’t know if that’s 50% of production,” pointing to the likelihood of new shoots forming at this early stage in the growing season.

Nevertheless, Bonomi indicated the significance of this frost for Argentina’s Chardonnay, which with 20,000 hectares planted across Mendoza, he described as the country’s “most important white variety.”

As with Chile, Bonomi confirmed that the freezing conditions arrived before other white grapes or the country’s flagship variety Malbec had begun to produce shoots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more