Frost hits French Vineyards

Frost hits Bordeaux and Bergerac – some vineyards estimate they have lost 100%

Yesterday morning I went out at dawn to check the vines. The mown areas were white with frost and crunchy underfoot. It looked so beautiful but the lower slopes held a frightening sight.

Frost at Chateau Feely 27 April 2017

Frost at Chateau Feely 27 April 2017

Frost in the vines 27 April 2017

Frost in the vines 27 April 2017


The ancient semillon that follows the east facing slope away from the Wine Cottage terrace and winery. DSC01253

Happy vines at the top.DSC01271

Not so happy vines near the bottom of the slope.


While some are saying they are 100% affected chez nous it looks like about a third have been affected. We don’t know if it means we lose a full third of our harvest. If you have read Saving our Skins you know it starts with a walk to check the vines – that time we lost almost half our crop to frost. (If you have read any of Caro’s books please consider putting a review on Amazon or Goodreads – good reviews make a big difference to the visibility of books. Let us know what you think of the new book Glass Half Full and the new wines.)


Those views are stunning but its hard for me to look at these photos without seeing what they mean for us. That said we can count ourselves lucky as I chatted with people yesterday who have lost 90% of their harvest.

The longer haired places weren’t nearly as white. You can see a net difference between the whiteness on the short haired rows and the long haired rows. I would guess that those with grass cover were a little better off than those without. In addition – all other things equal – those that are farmed organically would have probably fared better than those who had chemical fertiliser – which as I explain in the why organic series makes the vines take up more water and hence makes them more susceptible to frost and to fungal disease.

The dawn walk gave me a chance to photograph two beautiful deer passing through the Resonance merlot vineyard.deeronfrost2And give thanks for the beauty and wonder of nature that surrounds us in spite of the frost.

If you read Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France ( Caro Feely book 2 ) 

you know it starts with the frost of 2008… Caro’s latest book Glass Half Full: The Ups and Downs of Vineyard Life in France (Caro Feely Book 3) starts with hail in 2013. (they follow Caro’s first book  Grape Expectations: A Family’s Vineyard Adventure in France (Caro Feely Book 1)).  Summersdale publishers have also made the 3 book series available as a bundle for the UK market Caro Feely (3 Book Series). You can also find Caro’s easy reading book on Wine here:
Wine: The Essential Guide to Tasting, History, Culture and More by Caro Feely (2015-11-12)

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