The perfect (freezing) storm

Desperation, rage, tears, impotence… The Spanish vineyards are suffering the consequences of last week’s heavy frosts. The beginning of the 2017 vineyard cycle presented many risks as we saw in the previous post in this same space. The early ripening and the drought accumulated since last spring throughout the territory were very dangerous risk factors in the face of hypothetical frosts which, unfortunately, have devastated a large part of the vineyards in northern Spain. In France, too, the damage is very significant in the vast majority of wine-growing regions, including the most prestigious ones such as Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne.
The The main problem of these frosts is that, for example, in areas such as Rioja, vegetative development was already as advanced as if we were in San Isidro (May 15) in a normal year.The damage is much more intense than with a slower sprouting and in accordance with the actual time of the year. In the case of Ribera del Duero, for example, the damage was also significant, but the plants had just sprouted, so there will surely be a better recovery. For the time being, it is necessary to wait for the second sprouting of the plant, although, yes or yes, it will mean a much shorter maturation, and, above all, it remains to be seen with what strength they will be reborn again due to the strong drought that has been dragging on for almost a year. In any case, the vine, as it has proven for thousands of years, is one of the hardiest and most resistant plants, so that, especially if a few liters of water fall, we can rely on its ability to recover.
The damage is very significant in Rioja, as well as in Galicia, Bierzo, Ribera del Duero and Rueda.
At Familia Martínez Bujanda we have been very lucky, but ‘intuition farming’ has also worked. At Finca Valpiedra, where we put everything on the line because we make estate wines, our technical team applied a natural treatment injected into the soils at Easter to increase the concentration of solutes in the sap, which has done its job. We have suffered the consequences in some hillside vineyards in La Rioja Alta closer to Logroño, although we can consider ourselves very fortunate. In Rueda, the greatest damage occurred in the southern area, the one closest to Segovia, with Montepedroso barely suffering any damage.
Our encouragement to all winegrowers, not only Spanish. In recent days, spectacular images of candles, heaters and even helicopters have been seen on social networks in an attempt to alleviate the damage caused by the frost in France. In the Rioja, winegrowers with the possibility of irrigation opened their sprinklers at full throttle at night to try to protect their vineyards with a film of water and slow down the effects of nature. This struggle against the elements helps to understand why wine is a wonderful product, why each vintage is different and why the harvest, with the end of the cycle, has always been considered a celebration.

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