French winemakers have lit candles and burned bales of straw to try to protect their vineyards from sharp spring frosts, with the forecast of more cold nights this week raising fears of serious damage and lost production.
Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C overnight in wine regions including Chablis, in Burgundy, and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather.
Outside Chablis, known around the world for its fruity, acidic white wine, a deep orange glow from tens of thousands of candles hung over the rolling vineyards in the early hours.
Winemaker Laurent Pinson said he had put between 300 and 600 large candles – burning cans of paraffin – across many of his 14 hectares of vines.
“The harvest is at stake over a few nights – one, two or three nights – and if we have no harvest, that means no sales, no wine for consumers,” Pinson told Reuters. [ . . . ]