Spring 2017 will be remembered for the sudden wave of cold that crossed the Alps after mid-April. This situation has never occurred in Piedmont with such intensity, violence, and unpredictability. At Easter the temperatures were the same as those for the beginning of summer, which then dropped a few hours later to close to zero degrees Celsius.
In the area of Neive it even hailed in April and I believe this was also a record.
On the hill of Lirano, where I find myself, the damage has been contained, or least reduced. We count a hundred vines burnt by the cold on all 15 hectares of the property. Problems appeared mainly in the recently-planted vines, which are more sensitive and weak, in the areas with more grass and generally at lower altitudes.
We were very lucky. At approximately 400 meters above sea level, the cases of humidity and frost were contained, even if in some parts the cold wind hit areas which have been considered suitably adapted for vine cultivation for centuries.
We were very worried, especially because atmospheric events like this in April have never happened before and we weren’t prepared to defend ourselves. The positive side of these cool temperatures is that diseases like downy mildew are less inclined to develop, since the spores activate in high temperatures. This means less treatments and less checks through all the rows.
Overall, we were fortunate and my thoughts go out to those farmers who have had entire hectares destroyed. Working the earth is difficult, even unpredictable sometimes, and the price of those who work it isn’t high enough sometimes.