What about Northern Hemisphere?
An important wave of cold and frost hit Europe just after Easter, knowing that in most countries the growing cycle was about two to three weeks ahead. Damages are still being evaluated and we will have more precise information in the coming weeks.
In France, despite their use of propane burners or even helicopter to protect their vines, damages were reported. Not only in Champagne, Burgundy or Loire Valley, but also in Bordeaux where Pomerol, Blaye ,Saint-Emilion, Moulis or Listrac were the most affected areas. In Rhone Valley and Languedoc Roussillon, some producers for example in Pic-Saint-Loup lost 20% of their production.
In Italy, Piemont, Venetia or Tuscany were subjected to frost and hail storm. The first estimation are respectively: 50% of damages, between 60-80% for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Glera and Sauvignon parcels in Venetia and 20% in Tuscany which represents a damage of 80 million of euros according to Confagricultura. In Chianti, some producers’ losses are about 90% of the production. A few winemakers hope for a regrowth.
Spain declared also frost damages in Castilla y Leon, such as Ribera del Duero were some peaks of -10° were reported (in Burgos), in Rioja Alta, Bierzo: 80% of the vineyards have been damaged and also in Galicia (except Rias Baixas) where 70% of vineyards have been hit by the severe frost. Winemakers are already trying to save what they can by withdrawing the damages buds, and hoping that drought would not be what happens next.
No frost reported in California but flood levels in Sonoma county were registered, for the Napa River and Russian River. Hopefully it did not cause too much damages, even if it has to be handled with care until the end of spring, in particular in term of disease. With record rains who filled up the soil and a 4 year drought, 2017 should have a great potential.
Even if weather conditions are part of the job, we can wonder insofar as climate changes how the wine industry will adapt to this serious challenge?