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Winegrowers after sub-zero temperatures: "2024 harvest largely passé"

Numerous small controlled fires burn in a vineyard / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa
Numerous small controlled fires burn in a vineyard / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

Temperatures far below zero have caused major damage to Saxony's vineyards despite frost protection measures. The vines sprouted particularly early this year.

The sub-zero temperatures in the night from Monday to Tuesday have led to severe frost damage in Saxony's wine regions. "We have massive harvest damage, although it is only the beginning of the season," said Felix Hößelbarth, chairman of the Saxony Winegrowers' Association, on Tuesday when asked. He expects losses of 90 to 100 percent. "The 2024 harvest is largely passé." According to Hößelbarth, fires for frost protection in the vineyards did not have the desired effect where they were used, and the damage could not be averted at temperatures of up to minus 5 degrees.

The Schloss Wackerbarth state winery also expects significant yield losses depending on the location and grape variety. "Whether we were at least able to minimize these losses through our frost protection measures will only become clear in the next few days," said spokesman Martin Junge. Since last Wednesday, frost protection measures have been necessary on three nights, most recently on Tuesday night, when sub-zero temperatures of minus 5 degrees and colder were measured over a longer period of time.

According to Junge, it is not unusual for frost protection to be carried out on several nights in a row. "However, it is not usual for our vines to have already sprouted so far at this point in April." Due to the warm and sunny last few weeks, budding started around four weeks earlier than in previous years. In this phase, night frost is "a threat to everything that is green on our vines". There is a risk of crop losses and even total failure.

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