Definition - What does Frost mean?

Frost is when the temperature in the viticultural area is subfreezing (below 32 °F/ 0 °C). This is a potential threat for all grapes in the vineyard during the early growing season or during the time of bud break. Frost occurs when cold air settles on the vines, and it can damage or destroy the vines by killing the bud before it starts growing. In addition, frost in moderation can also benefit the vines by hardening barks and kill pests that thrive under barks. Cold climate regions are susceptible to subfreezing temperatures, making them a majorly threatened by frost damage.

WineFrog explains Frost

Even though frost damage usually occurs in cold climate regions, it can take place in warmer regions as well. Frost damage cannot be prevented, but winemakers can take adequate measures to mitigate the risk. Vineyard owners should employ a proper viticultural method and choose a proper plantation site depending on the condition of land and weather. For example, vineyards on the upper side of hills or slopes, where cold air cannot be trapped, are considered to be the best options to avoid frost damage.

Planting grape varieties with high growth rates is also a preventive measure, as it will ensure that the plants aren’t affected in case frost occurs. Furthermore, high-yield grape varieties have well- developed vines which will are not be affected by frost. Another method used is to run sprinklers over the vines so that frost will affect the water particles, and as water freezes it will cause an exothermic reaction (release heat) to occur, which will make sure the vines are warm. French growers also use fire to make sure that the air in contact with the vines is warm.

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