Oh, snap. Cold snap, that is.
We noted last week that farmers in France were feeling the latest temperature drops in their bones and their fields. Unusually warm temperatures in March caused vineyards and other crops across France to bloom. Then Mother Nature said, “Au revoir,” and released below-zero temperatures.
That’s “pas bon” (translation: not good)
Devastating to budding crops, the French frost has affected every wine-producing area in France. For many winemakers, the 2021 harvest is ruined, some reporting 90% of their crop destroyed. And not only are grapes affected, but also peach trees, nectarines, apricots, and sugar beets.
A farmer told French radio, “It literally turns your stomach, when you spend the morning in the vines and see the frozen leaves, which after two or three hours in the sun have gone grey or black.”
Save the grapes!
Vineyard farmers are trying whatever they can to save their crops. Some are spraying their vines with water to form a coating of ice around the buds to try to protect them from frost, while others have lit paraffin lamps as a method of keeping the vines warm. Others even lit bales of hay on fire.
Primetime: France’s Prime Minister has declared the cold snap an agricultural disaster, prompting the need for relief funds.
But farmers are also asking for bank loan payments to be put on hold and improvements in insurance for grape growers – only a third of French winemakers are insured.