Severe frosts and heavy snow have returned unseasonably late to vast swathes of Europe this week, potentially laying waste to millions of Euros worth of early, tender grapes.
Winemakers across the continent are lighting thousands of torches in an attempt to protect their livelihoods from the subzero temperatures.
“Any more than 1C below zero (30.2F) and you’re really in trouble,” said winemaker Andreas Huber who is based in South Tryol, Italy where temperatures as low as -9C (15.8F) were recorded on Wednesday morning.
Heeding the forecast warning, Huber spent all weekend preparing “anti-frost” torches every few metres throughout his vineyard, and then, as the mercury started to fall, he set them ablaze.
Lighting 300 torches over one hectare raises the temperature by roughly 3C, according to Huber, a difference that could prove crucial.
The neighboring province of Trentino recorded its lowest temperatures since 1987 this week, which had farmers busy taking to anti-frost precautions in vineyards as well as apple orchards their, too.
Extensive damage has also been reported in Switzerland:
And of course in France, too:
A Farmers’ Union spokesperson estimates that the recent spell of brutal Arctic air could lay waste to millions of euros’ worth of crops.
And the spell is forecast to continue through this weekend, too as storms tear across much of Europe, particularly central regions, dumping more unseasonable snow onto towns and villages leaving them looking decidedly more wintry than spring-like.
Cold records are continuing to fall, as predicted.
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift