May 5th, 2017
The UK, like most of Europe, has been hit by the recent unusually low temperatures and resulting frost, the worst in over 20 years.
After a mild winter and early spring, many of the vines were about 2-3 weeks ahead in growth, which made them more susceptible to damage from frost.
The extent of the damage is still being assessed. Whilst significant damage has been recorded in some vineyards, other sites have reported to have been either partially affected or in some cases even unaffected.
The frost damage has been on the primary buds and whilst many may have been badly affected, vines carry secondary buds, which can develop to produce some fruit, especially if we have a good summer. Yields will undoubtedly be lower and it is too soon to make any prognosis on this until much further in to the growing season.
As with all agriculture, there are productive years and some invariably are not – occasional challenging conditions will periodically occur. Producers above all continue to set their sights on the future. Over 1m vines are being planted in the UK this year and there are plans for ongoing growth beyond then. In the last four years the UK has seen production yields range from average to record-breaking, and quality has remained high.