French winemakers fight frost with fire…and win

I’ve heard of farmers spraying water on their crops to avoid freeze damage, but what winemakers do in France is wild! Burgundy winemakers grapple with the persistent threat of spring frosts, a  challenge that jeopardizes the integrity of their grape harvest. In recent years, these talented folks have some innovative methods to shield their precious vines from the detrimental effects of frost. Bring on the fire.

To counter the impact of spring frosts, many Burgundy winemakers have reverted to a time-honored technique – the strategic use of small fires in the vineyards. It’s a traditional approach, I’m told – and it’s pretty obvious. The heat of the flames staves off the formation of frost on the vines. The delicate buds are shielded from harm.

From the sky, the landscape is breathtaking. As winemakers continue to grapple with the ever-changing climate, the enduring allure of this region is not only found in the quality of its wines but also in the ingenuity and resourcefulness of its community. It looks like a lot of work, but when you crack open a nice bottle of wine and note the price, you’ll know why they go to great lengths. Fascinating stuff to say the least.

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Josh Benson

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