French winemakers set candles and straw ablaze to save vines from frost

fires at vineyards

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. [ . . . ]

Continue at source: French winemakers set candles and straw ablaze to save vines from frost | Reuters

Diversification Farmer of the Year

Dairy farmers Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore were struggling to make a profit when prices slumped, so they decided to cut out the middleman and sell their milk directly to the public.

The Crickmores were the first UK farmers to install a vending machine selling raw milk at the farmgate.

They have built a loyal customer base – it’s not unusual for customers to embark on round trips of more than 100 miles to buy milk from the farm.

But they haven’t stopped there. Jonny has diversified into making milk, cheese and butter from their cows’ raw milk.

Jonny consulted French cheese expert Ivan Larcher to ask him how to make Brie to rival the French. He travelled to eastern France and imported a herd of Montbeliarde cows, whose milk is renowned for making outstanding cheese.

Source: FW Awards 2017: Diversification Farmer of the Year – Farmers Weekly