Frost Damages 40% of Vineyards In the Czech Republic

The frosty weather in recent days has wreaked havoc on the wine grape crop in the Czech Republic. The president of the Winegrowers’ Union, Martin Chlad, announced on Monday that up to 40% of vineyards in the Czech Republic have been affected by frost, causing damages that will amount to millions of crowns. The union will begin assessing the specific damages on Wednesday.

Night frosts that damaged the crop hit the Czech Republic in the middle of last week and are expected to continue in the coming days. The union had expressed concern about the situation last Friday, foreseeing difficult mornings on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The frost caused the most significant damage on Friday night, which is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of crowns.

Winegrowers have been on night alert since last week, monitoring various forecast models and their own weather stations in the vineyards. In risk areas where night frosts are feared, they keep night shifts. In case of impending frost, they inform each other and head to the vineyard to light candles that help protect the shrubs from frost. However, they must start lighting them about two hours before the temperature drops.

The problem with the current weather is its rapid variability, which is not entirely typical. The night was cloudy, even some precipitation came, but then the clouds broke up, and the temperature quickly fell to three degrees below zero in some places. Within an hour and a half, the weather completely turned around, after which it was impossible to react.

The temperature can also vary in different parts of the vineyard. While it can be two degrees above zero at the top, the valley’s temperature can drop to minus two degrees locally. The extent of damage to fruit in Moravia is not yet clear. According to the chairman of the Fruit Growers’ Union of Moravia and Silesia, there are enclaves in southern and eastern Moravia where cold air did not leak, and the fruit is thriving, unlike in Bohemia.