Historic black frost on 2021 April 8th

Waking up on April 8th

On April 8th, after a short night on MetéoCiel, zapping between the 5 locations of Domaines Fabre, we woke up dazed. Sad morning, the road to the 2021 vintage will be long. Nothing to do against this historic frost in the vinyeard: temperatures have gone down to -6, negative as early as 2 am at the Courtade. Luc, Gasparets and Cruscades were close to -3 at 5 am, Rieux-Minervois was slightly spared around -1. The frosty areas along the riversides are as affected as the upper hills. Never before seen in the lives of winegrowers, over 2, even 3 generations. 80% loss. Hard to see the work of a vintage go so quickly, so early.

And now?

Let’s wait a few weeks before evaluating the volumes we will be able to harvest, this year more than ever with humility. It continues to be very cold for a month of April: 3 weeks to go before the last Ice Saint for the Languedoc: Saint Jean Porte Latine on the 6th of May, which coincides with the end of the Red Moon, and marks the end of the freezing period. We will then try to get help from more fortunate winegrowers than us, in order to satisfy our existing customers.

Global point

Terroirs frozen up to 350m of altitude, colossal losses, the Languedoc vineyards are particularly affected by the black frost episode of last week.
The map published by the Chamber of Agriculture of Languedoc sums up the situation well: on all the appellations, red dominates. A more or less dark color which underlines the extent of the disaster for many winegrowers. With the frost on the night of April 7, losses reached more than 80% in some sectors. Thus, in the Hérault, 100% of the wine growing areas (about 80,000 hectares) were frozen, with relatively preserved areas such as the Haut du Minervois, which was “only” 30% affected, while La Livinière was spared. An appellation that is considered privileged in the Languedoc.

On the other hand, in the Corbières, the situation is much darker.  This concerns both the IGP (protected geographical indications) and the AOC (controlled appellations of origin), which will pose a problem of quality because even the most beautiful terroirs are affected. A first in the region for some vineyards, which are not usually frosty: the preserved terroirs of altitude froze up to 350m, while the early grape varieties were particularly vulnerable, whatever the appellation.