Frosty reception at Waipara vineyards…

October 13th, 2010 | Posted by

frost1Yes its that time of year. Youve finished pruning, one of the more crucial, time consuming and costly tasks in the vineyard - the buds start growing and the season starts again. But around this time every season comes the frost alerts. Its seems to be the price we pay for our wonderful cool climate terroir which makes NZ wines so fantastic. A handful of times over the next few weeks the forecasts will predict a frost and vineyards will have helicoptors or windmachines at the ready.     Up at our Georges Road vineyard in Waipara at the start of this week we had a Helicoptor at the ready. There are two frost lights set up in the vineyard which change colour with the temperature changes. Green flashing (over 3C) to Green solid (1-3C) to White (0 to 1C) to Red () to -1C) to Red Flash (below -1C).  And to cap it all off I have to stay up at the vineyard all night to monitor the lights and stay in touch with the pilot. Luckily for us our lights only dipped into the White zone for a brief period around 530 before a slight breeze came up and took away any threat of frost. This vineyard is located at the western end of the Waipara Valley which is slightly elevated and close to the mouth of the Waipara Gorge which seems to provide some additonal airflow. Further to the East nearer the hills vineyards had helicoptors in the air from as early as 1215am. So safe this time and all we (and most other vineyards)lost was a decent nights sleep.