Mon Dieu, not again...
A potentially devastating frost hit Burgundy, Champagne, and several other French wine regions two nights in a row this week. You may recall that last year on the morning of April 27th a freak frost hit Chablis and the Côte d'Or, killing 50-90% of the potential crop. With temperatures forecast to dip below freezing in the early morning hours of Wednesday and Thursday this past week, many vignerons mobilized whatever weapons they had at their disposal to fight to save their crops.
An unusually warm and early spring this year meant that the young buds were already out and fully vulnerable. Most of the producers who have been devastated by small yields in 6 of the last 7 years could not survive another big blow - in fact many may not survive as it is.
It's still to early to tell, but it appears they have mostly dodged the bullet this time, or at least avoided the worst. Reports are that parts of Chablis may have lost 50%+ and some in the Côte de Beaune have suffered serious losses, though it is nowhere near as widespread as in 2016.
My friend Thiébault Huber in Volnay was out in his vines with his team all night both nights, keeping watch on the thermometers and lighting gel candles in the vine rows to raise temps a degree or two into the safety zone. Thiébault reports they have won the battle this time, but cautions that more potential frosts could be on the way, and they're not out of the woods yet...
Some villages in Champagne were also hard hit - but most reports are that they too have escaped a major disaster. please join me in keeping fingers crossed.
A great treat for serious Burgundy geeks - there's a new map of the 6 great Grand Crus in the village of Vosne-Romanée, detailing who owns which sections of Richebourg and Romanée-St. Vivant (it's easy for the other 4 - they're all monopoles.) You can order it through the fabulous Athenaeum in Beaune, or pick it up there on your next visit (I'll be grabbing mine when I'm back over in June, for sure.)