Thursday, March 4, 2010

The secret ministry of frost.

It's no secret that spring frosts spell trouble for the winegrower. Although it is forecast to rain tomorrow, and the day after, this mornings frost heralds the imminent onset of up to an eight week period of interrupted sleep for the Napa Valley's vineyard managers. It is a tad early for me to be overly concerned for my vines. However, I did notice rather corpulent looking Chardonnay buds in the eastern block of the Far Niente vineyard as I was walking the Vinodogs late yesterday afternoon, and that may be a concern for them.
I think budbreak will be several weeks early this year, and so I'm estimating my sleep will be interrupted within the next two weeks. Those wind fans are loud!

7 comments:

Vinomaker said...

The old diesel smudge pots, ooops "vineyard heaters" as we call them now, for reducing frost damage have, for the most part, been replaced by huge fans. Once bud break has begun, these fans start up when the temperatures drop into the 32 to 40 degree farenheit range which is usually in the middle of the night. Most of newer units are not too loud but all running at once can dredge up memories of the movie, Apocalypse Now. Besides spraying thousands of gallons of scarce water over the vines, there are not many other alternatives to protect the tender primary buds. They sell a lot of earplugs this time of year!

過分 said...

GOOD........................................

The villager: said...

What an amazing image !

It has felt like a long winter...

Trubes said...

We have the beginnings of Spring here and crocus are popping their bright yellow and purple heads above the soil...Frosty sunny morning too...
Hope all are well in Vinoland.

Di.x

Affer said...

Yet another fascinating VG photo! I didn't know about the fans. Perhaps our Brit train providers could adopt them to keep |'the wrong sort of snow' off the lines!

Wartime Housewife said...

Sorry to be thick (I nothing of viniculture other than wot I learn from you!), but doesn't the heat from the fans just float up into the sky? Or are the vines covered in some way?

Vinogirl said...

Vinomaker: Alas, even viticulture has been bitten by the PC bug.

Villager: Hang in there, spring is just around the corner.

Trubes: I am getting plenty of crocus and snowdrop pics from Thud :)

Affer: That's funny, we have the wrong sort of snow up in the Sierra here too (according to the water company that is)...not enough water in it!

WH: The heat from the soil (radiation accumulated in the vineyard floor during the day), raises about 30 feet above the ground at night (inversion layer) and is circulated by the fans, keeping frost from settling on, and damaging, the buds.