We spent a significant part of the past two years in Burgundy. The food, wine, and landscape make this French region a food lovers paradise. The temperature in Burgundy dropped below freezing during the night over the past few weeks and unfortunately they’ve already had bud break. Winemakers tried to protect their precious vines from the black frost by lighting “candles” between the rows of vines in hopes of preventing the buds from freezing. Some wineries used fans and even helicopters to move the air in hopes of preventing frost.
As we watched the photos and videos of the rolling hills of Burgundy lit by candlelight until the early hours of the morning, we wondered what the locals’ experiences were.
Baptiste Paquot, a photographer based in Vosne Romanee says that he thinks 60-80 percent of the Chardonnay of the Cote de Beaune may have been lost, if not more.
One of our favorite natural wine producers in Burgundy, Tomoko Kuriyama of Chantereves, said that Burgundy hasn’t had the “black frost” since 2015. However, they left the canes long in hopes to protect them with “frost insurance.” The damage was still so bad that they’re trying to recoup the buds that are there. As she explained, “By the way why do you think we see so many higher canopies in the Hautes Côtes? Exactly because Hautes Côtes vines on higher altitudes and thus colder mezzo climate are more prone to frost. Shifting the canopy higher takes the buds out of colder and more humid ground level micro-climate. Whatever it takes, we will try saving what’s left.”
Lola Taboury of Le Soleil (one of our favorite restaurants who contributed to The Taste Edit Issue 2) and Simon Bize & Fils winery told us that they were “very complicated nights. The Chardonnay [was] damaged by the black frost.. we had snow + temperature around -5 degrees and sun in the morning.. ‘perfect’ combo for gelée noire. We hope that Pinot noir will survive. It was less advanced, still in the cotton so fingers crossed!” Le Soleil
See some amazing photos of the vines from photographers: Michael Joly, Baptiste Paquot, and Jeff Pachoud.