Vineyards share frost and disease pressure challenges   - Fruit & Vine

Vineyards from around the country share frost and disease pressure challenges in 2024  

Terraprima Group has recently hosted a webinar bringing together vineyard owners, growers, winemakers and viticulturists, as well as the head of innovation at Weatherquest, professor Steve Dorling. 

Terraprima Group hosted a webinar bringing together vineyard owners, growers, winemakers, viticulturists, and Weatherquest expert.

Vineyards from Kent to the Cotswolds and as far north as Yorkshire were joined by Will Robinson of HL Hutchinson to discuss this year’s progress so far and share ideas to make the best of the remainder of the season.                  

With temperatures at least 1.5°C warmer than average this winter in the main vine-growing areas, the vines broke buds earlier than average this season.  

This meant that the cold snap in the middle of April, which resulted in a couple of frost events, had the potential to be particularly dangerous.  

Vineyards that were unable to achieve a clean under-vine area, a particular issue given the difficulty of moving machinery around on very wet ground, or which did not have good frost drainage, were at particular risk.  

Some growers experienced significant crop damage with 20-40% potential yield loss where primary buds had been lost.  

Carefully considered strategy

Spring temperatures have continued to be 1 to 1.5°C higher than average across the main vineyard areas.

Rainfall 30-70% above average and significantly below average sunshine has led to high disease pressure, causing downy mildew and phomopsis, which is now being seen where early season sprays could not be applied due to the wet ground conditions.              

Even though the season started early, full flowering in the east has finished in the middle of the eight-year average time.  

Early signs are that crop levels this year are looking only a little lighter than last year’s bumper harvest, but plenty of sunshine in August and September will be needed to achieve quality, and growers will need to carefully consider their strategy to balance overall yield with achieving the required quality for their needs.  

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