Unprecedented temperatures in the Loire valley this past two weeks have had growers pruning in their shorts and dreading an early budburst. The older generation can’t remember a February when the temperatures have been this high for so long.
We’ve had chilly mornings (around 0 to minus 3) and then in the afternoon temperatures have soared to between 17° and 21°. Yesterday at Peter Hahn’s vineyard, the vines were weeping – a sure sign that they are coming out of dormancy. This is not what growers want as it extends the risk of frost damage.
The area of the Loire where are now located has had more than its fair share of stress and worry from frost and hail damage over the past 10 years. 2018 was the first year in a while that growers have had full tanks and great quality wine. The thought of yet another year with reduced yields is weighing heavily on their minds as we move into March.
Night time temperatures are set to be milder for the next 10 days or so and daytime temperatures more in line with what we would expect at this time of year (between 11° and 15°). Rain is on its way too so our days of lunching out in the garden may have to go on hold for the moment.
We are likely to see a very early budburst as a result of this extraordinarily warm February. While the average person on the street is rejoicing, growers are quaking in their boots.
Our season reopens on the 19th March and we look forward to getting out in the vineyards with our guests. Our Loire Wine Discovery tour always includes a trip into the vineyard itself where we explain the different ways of working the land and treating the vines.