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Frost alerts in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is bracing itself to assess potential frost damage after temperatures plunged last night and are expected to do so again tonight.

Buds in Bordeaux. Photo: Gavin Quinney

In his weekly newsletter, ex-pat winemaker Gavin Quinney described the recent cold snap as “squeaky bum time”* as he and other growers waited for it to pass in order to judge what any damage is.

He wrote: “There was a heavy frost here early this morning, with temperatures plunging below -2°C. The sun is shining now and it’s too early to assess the extent of the damage.”

As he continued, the new buds which are beginning to appear are particularly vulnerable to intense old although different varieties and plots will be affected differently depending on whether they are early or late budding and if they were sheltered or not by their exposure and micro climate.

Speaking to local paper Sud-Ouest, one grower said they all had their “fingers crossed”.

Frosts have already wreaked significant damage in Champagne this year and producers across much of France and indeed, northern Italy, Austria and Germany have reported widespread damage, exacerbated in many cases by a mild winter and warm spring which means many vines are two to three weeks ahead of where they were in their growth cycle at this time last year.

Bordeaux largely escaped devastating frosts which struck the Loire, Champagne and Burgundy in 2016.

Around 1,000 hectares in Blaye, Castillon, parts of the Médoc and Saint Emilion were hit by a freeze on 21 April as well.


*An ancient English idiom expressing either unease or intense excitement with a given situation.

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