Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

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Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#1 Post by C. Mc Cart »

Have been watching some of the social media posts by burgundy vignerons filming the bougies lighting up the landscape over the past few nights. Looks like it got cold enough in spots that they didn't work.
Today Thibault Liger-Belair suggested that 2/3rds of the buds in one of his vineyards he was walking in are toast after last night. Looks like another small crop in many places.
Another thought after seeing so many of the photos - I'm sure there's no finger pointing or speaking of it away from the vineyards, but there sure are a lot of landowners who still don't appear to take any measures to fight the frost.
It would be worthwhile to know who doesn't feel the need to employ any protection measures in their vineyards and why?
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#2 Post by Vincent Fritzsche »

Yeah, I checked the morning temps in France before going to bed last night here in Oregon. Widespread 27F readings in the Cote d'Or, Chablis and Champagne. I didn't bother checking Loire locations. A serious, widespread killing frost. Seems really bad this year.

And yes, I saw pictures where clearly smudge pots in one vineyard or one section were next to totally dark, seemingly unprotected vines. Who knows the reasons why, I'm sure there are more practical reasons but hopelessness has to be part of it somewhere, founded or unfounded. I can imagine even for the strongest among us, there are moments of despair that translate into momentary paralysis, where you should be doing something and simply can't bring yourself to the brutal reality. And it seemed so cold and so widespread at some point I'm not sure buying yourself a degree or two is worth all the effort.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#3 Post by Russell Faulkner »

Possible (but not likely maybe) that the dark areas are Pinot and those on fire are Chardonnay.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#4 Post by John Morris »

The BBC has a sketchy report on a bad frost and fires to ward off damage in the Loire.
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#5 Post by John Morris »

There's also this tweet from someone who identifies herself as a Burgundian, though the location isn't identified:

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#6 Post by John Morris »

Here's a fuller story from Reuters:
CHABLIS, France (Reuters) - French winemakers have lit candles and burned bales of straw to try to protect their vineyards from sharp spring frosts, with the forecast of more cold nights this week raising fears of serious damage and lost production.

Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C [23F] overnight in wine regions including Chablis, in Burgundy, and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#7 Post by Greg K »

Russell Faulkner wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:51 am Possible (but not likely maybe) that the dark areas are Pinot and those on fire are Chardonnay.
Super young vines not justifying the effort? Hard to know.

There have been a number of tough frosts in recent years, and some of those vintages have turned out well (16 reds), so let’s see how things go. Obviously all sympathies and best wishes to those in burgundy.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#8 Post by C. Mc Cart »

Russell Faulkner wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:51 am Possible (but not likely maybe) that the dark areas are Pinot and those on fire are Chardonnay.
Maybe in a few cases - One of the videos was from Vernonique Drouhin filming from their Marquis de Laguiche Monty, so that neighbourhood is all chard. Expensive real estate too, so you'd think EVERY land owner would do everything possible to maximize potential yield.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#9 Post by brigcampbell »

John Morris wrote: April 7th, 2021, 12:01 pm Here's a fuller story from Reuters:
CHABLIS, France (Reuters) - French winemakers have lit candles and burned bales of straw to try to protect their vineyards from sharp spring frosts, with the forecast of more cold nights this week raising fears of serious damage and lost production.

Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C [23F] overnight in wine regions including Chablis, in Burgundy, and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather.
The pictures in that article are incredible. I'd be more than a little concerned with the effectiveness of those burning pots at that spacing if temps really hit 23F.

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#10 Post by William Segui »

brigcampbell wrote: April 7th, 2021, 2:25 pmThe pictures in that article are incredible. I'd be more than a little concerned with the effectiveness of those burning pots at that spacing if temps really it 23F.
Not sure anything works at 23F

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#11 Post by David K o l i n »

If you take countermeasures for frost, is it not terroir?
Last edited by David K o l i n on April 7th, 2021, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#12 Post by Paul Gordon »

C. Mc Cart wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:15 am Have been watching some of the social media posts by burgundy vignerons filming the bougies lighting up the landscape over the past few nights. Looks like it got cold enough in spots that they didn't work.
Today Thibault Liger-Belair suggested that 2/3rds of the buds in one of his vineyards he was walking in are toast after last night. Looks like another small crop in many places.
Another thought after seeing so many of the photos - I'm sure there's no finger pointing or speaking of it away from the vineyards, but there sure are a lot of landowners who still don't appear to take any measures to fight the frost.
It would be worthwhile to know who doesn't feel the need to employ any protection measures in their vineyards and why?
Imagine having 20 acres of vines in a dozen vineyards spread over 20 miles. The logistics of acquiring, lighting and manning candles must be daunting. They must have to select a few higher value and/or optimally located vineyards on which to focus.

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#13 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

David K o l i n wrote: April 7th, 2021, 3:57 pm If you take countermeasures for frost, is it not terroir?
I thought about going there...
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#14 Post by larry schaffer »

Is it not possible to have wind machines there? I know that smudge pots are no longer allowed in lots of places due to the smoke they give off - just wondering.

With temperatures that low, though, it's tough to 'hold' frost off . . .

Crossing fingers that things turn out okay.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#15 Post by David K o l i n »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: April 7th, 2021, 4:55 pm
David K o l i n wrote: April 7th, 2021, 3:57 pm If you take countermeasures for frost, is it not terroir?
I thought about going there...
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#16 Post by Casey Hartlip »

larry schaffer wrote: April 7th, 2021, 4:55 pm Is it not possible to have wind machines there? I know that smudge pots are no longer allowed in lots of places due to the smoke they give off - just wondering.

With temperatures that low, though, it's tough to 'hold' frost off . . .

Crossing fingers that things turn out okay.
Wind machines are useless at 23. Also is that sustainable viticulture to burn all those fossil fuels to create terrior?
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#17 Post by Dennis Atick »

According to Accuweather, the current temp is 26 degrees at 3am in Beaune.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#18 Post by Tim Heaton »

Was chatting with Fabio Alessandria a few hours ago, we both agreed, obviously, that the frost (threat) in Langhe in this moment eclipses the nottue (caterpillars). Dangerous times. The blackness of death, the following day is gutting.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#19 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

Dennis Atick wrote: April 7th, 2021, 6:10 pm According to Accuweather, the current temp is 26 degrees at 3am in Beaune.
Picking up on this as of 3:45 am local time -

Ampuis 29
Tain 30
Fleurie 29
Dijon 28
Bernkastel 29
Montlouis 32
Reims 35
Arbois 25
Pomerol 31
Pauillac 37
Gattinara 28
La Morra 32

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#20 Post by Jayson Cohen »

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote: April 7th, 2021, 6:48 pm
Dennis Atick wrote: April 7th, 2021, 6:10 pm According to Accuweather, the current temp is 26 degrees at 3am in Beaune.
Picking up on this as of 3:45 am local time -

Ampuis 29
Tain 30
Fleurie 29
Dijon 28
Bernkastel 29
Montlouis 32
Reims 35
Arbois 25
Pomerol 31
Pauillac 37
Gattinara 28
La Morra 32
I’m trying to find out bud conditions in the N Rhone since most of the vineyard level reports are coming from Burgundy. I’ll post what I learn (if anything).

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#21 Post by brigcampbell »

Temps look bad for a couple of days next week too. Damn.

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#22 Post by Sh@n A »

This is very sad. Everyone loses. Less wine to sell, less wine to buy, and even higher prices to be reached.
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#23 Post by Kent Comley »

Why don't they install frost fans? Or frost irrigation?
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#24 Post by Vincent Fritzsche »

26F in Nuits at 6am. The temp is one thing. The length of time sub freezing is a huge factor. Can’t imagine the losses, simply horrible.
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#25 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Kent Comley wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:47 pm Why don't they install frost fans? Or frost irrigation?
Some have I think. Claudine Gaunoux (who runs Francois Gaunoux) posted a video from a wind turbine to her IG feed.

But I’m not sure with low temps for two nights in a row it will make much difference. Maybe.

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#26 Post by JasperMorris »

Three nights/mornings in a row here in the Cote d'Or

Localised light damage likely from the first night

Much worse on the second night (early morning of 7th). Not colder, just a couple of degrees below freezing (in centigrade) but the conditions were in perfect storm territory. The cold is much more damaging when you have humidity and there were snow showers the previous evening. Then the clouds left leaving a clear sky, with early morning sun to burn the damaged shoots, and no wind to keep the air moving.

I went down to Corton-Charlemagne at around 4.30 in the morning, then across to Meursault where I stayed through to 7.30 - and it was clearly colder after dawn rather than before.

What was clear was that the smudgepots were only really being effective to the four closest vines, whereas they are spread out much more widely than that. Conversations with several producers who said that they are not equipped to cover all their vineyards so had to make choices.

Plenty of small wind turbines in evidence which may have helped, but there is clearly going to be some damage and maybe a lot.

This morning was the last day of the north wind - and temperatures at our house which is outside the vineyard area were the lowest of the three nights (minus 4.5C = 24F I think) but without the humidity of the previous day. I dont yet know how it played out in the vines

Chablis has better protection, more different types including thermal cabling in key vineyards, as the region has had a much longer term history of frost risk.

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#27 Post by Kent Comley »

Jayson Cohen wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:26 pm
Kent Comley wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:47 pm Why don't they install frost fans? Or frost irrigation?
Some have I think. Claudine Gaunoux (who runs Francois Gaunoux) posted a video from a wind turbine to her IG feed.

But I’m not sure with low temps for two nights in a row it will make much difference. Maybe.
Work well in Oz with temps down to -5C and sometimes sub zero for over 6 hrs. The real risk is a rare advection frost where the fan draws in colder air from above. Saw this once, vineyards were nuked.
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#28 Post by Bdklein »

Looks like freezing temperatures next week in the Burgundy region as well. Doesn't bode well.
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#29 Post by Sean S y d n e y »

JasperMorris wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:53 pm Three nights/mornings in a row here in the Côte d’Or
Thanks for this, Jasper.

Bill Nanson also has a pretty great and sobering read complete with pictures here -

https://www.burgundy-report.com/2021/04 ... 021-frost/
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#30 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Apparently there have also been subzero temps in the N Rhone vineyards too and even further south. -3 to -4 deg C. Bud condition unknown right now.

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#31 Post by brigcampbell »

Kent Comley wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:58 pm
Jayson Cohen wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:26 pm
Kent Comley wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:47 pm Why don't they install frost fans? Or frost irrigation?
Some have I think. Claudine Gaunoux (who runs Francois Gaunoux) posted a video from a wind turbine to her IG feed.

But I’m not sure with low temps for two nights in a row it will make much difference. Maybe.
Work well in Oz with temps down to -5C and sometimes sub zero for over 6 hrs. The real risk is a rare advection frost where the fan draws in colder air from above. Saw this once, vineyards were nuked.
Yeah, fans would move cold air off the ground but if it's just blowing more cold, or colder air, then it'll do more damage. Basically, you're creating a mini blast freezer which is worse as it'll remove more heat from the vines freezing them deeper.

As others have said when the temperature is -5C it really doesn't matter

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#32 Post by Odd Rydland »

Interesting - and sad - to see how low quantities due to frosts and high alcohol due to heatwaves seem to be the new normal, often during the same year.

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#33 Post by William Kelley »

Damage looking really bad. Temperatures hit -6C in Saint-Aubin, for example, two nights in a row. Plus snow yesterday. Not much anything can do about that. I was walking in En Remilly, which normally doesn't frost, and it had just been wiped out. I lit up smudge pots in a small Beaune parcel I look after, both nights, but I just drove by and there's still plenty of damage. But clearly Chardonnay and any sites that tend to bud early have been hit really hard.
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Re: Killer frosts again - 2021

#34 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Report from Climens — not good. I know the situation in Sauternes and Barsac was also very challenging.

(The Instagram link to the report from Climens is not rendering, but you can go there yourself to read and see the photos.)

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#35 Post by Jason T »

Sean S y d n e y wrote: April 8th, 2021, 4:08 am
JasperMorris wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:53 pm Three nights/mornings in a row here in the Côte d’Or
Thanks for this, Jasper.

Bill Nanson also has a pretty great and sobering read complete with pictures here -

https://www.burgundy-report.com/2021/04 ... 021-frost/
Great reporting from Bill. He touches on why we don’t see more of the pots, beyond just availability of labour. €4000 per hectare per day just for the pots and fuel, not including labour. It’s simply not economically viable.
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#36 Post by Mel Knox »

Years ago I asked somebody why we in California have frost protection of all sorts and there, not much. He pointed out that here, somebody might own 50/100/200 acres in one spot whereas there, the ownership is spread all over the place. The Chablis people have worked it out and I expect the the folks in the Cote d Or will work cooperatively....some day
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#37 Post by William Kelley »

Just heard from a friend in Chambolle that the temperature hit -8 C in the low-lying regional appellations...
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#38 Post by Kent Comley »

William Kelley wrote: April 8th, 2021, 11:40 pm Just heard from a friend in Chambolle that the temperature hit -8 C in the low-lying regional appellations...
That's tragic news - hard to imagine any buds surviving those kinds of temperatures, irrespective of frost mittigation methods employed.
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#39 Post by LasseK »

Clusel Roch posted an estimated loss of 60% in Cote-Rotie...
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#40 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Depending on grape and location, I’m hearing estimates of 30-100% loss in the Rhone.

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#41 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

Just brutal, but thanks to all for passing the news along. Terrible.

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#42 Post by brigcampbell »

Kent Comley wrote: April 9th, 2021, 12:19 am
William Kelley wrote: April 8th, 2021, 11:40 pm Just heard from a friend in Chambolle that the temperature hit -8 C in the low-lying regional appellations...
That's tragic news - hard to imagine any buds surviving those kinds of temperatures, irrespective of frost mittigation methods employed.
-8C is 18F

That's crushing

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#43 Post by David Patte »

Terrible news. Seems ironic that with a changing climate (fewer overall frost days, longer growing season) frost damage increases (early bud break increases the risk). Lots of research on this such as https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... -2014-0282
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#44 Post by larry schaffer »

Unreal and tragic - hear's hoping against hope that things are not as bad as the reports we're hearing.

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#45 Post by Otto Forsberg »

LasseK wrote: April 9th, 2021, 12:26 am Clusel Roch posted an estimated loss of 60% in Cote-Rotie...
The most recent updates have mentioned 80 to 100%, depending on the sub-region.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#46 Post by billnanson »

David Patte wrote: April 9th, 2021, 7:43 am Terrible news. Seems ironic that with a changing climate (fewer overall frost days, longer growing season) frost damage increases (early bud break increases the risk). Lots of research on this such as https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... -2014-0282
The problem is not -8°C at the start of April - per-se - the Burgundians have their ice-saint day and it's the 13th May after which they expect no more frosts.
The problem is temperatures in the 20s in February - it's this that brings about the early growth and bud-burst. For generations, there have been no open buds at the start of April...
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#47 Post by LasseK »

Otto Forsberg wrote: April 9th, 2021, 8:27 am
LasseK wrote: April 9th, 2021, 12:26 am Clusel Roch posted an estimated loss of 60% in Cote-Rotie...
The most recent updates have mentioned 80 to 100%, depending on the sub-region.
Ouch.
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#48 Post by Alain M »

A local friend reported 80% loss in Châteauneuf du Pape. Possibly a bit pessimistic, idk, more news next week.

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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#49 Post by HenryB »

I'm new to frost damage in wine, but given where we rae in the season, is this unrecoverable?
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Re: Killer frosts again - Cote D'Or 2021

#50 Post by Sean S y d n e y »

HenryB wrote: April 9th, 2021, 1:32 pm I'm new to frost damage in wine, but given where we rae in the season, is this unrecoverable?
If budburst has taken place (as a result of warming temperatures early in the growing season) and those nascent buds are destroyed by frost, then they are toast for the year.
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