Fog hangs over an irrigation pond feeding overhead
frost-fighting sprinklers on a vineyard between Cromwell
and Wanaka yesterday morning. Photo by Mark Price.
Another touch of frost through Central Otago and the
Waitaki Valley had vineyard managers and workers scrambling
again yesterday morning.
Overhead sprinklers and wind machines were brought into use
when temperatures dipped around dawn, although helicopters
were not required for frost-fighting.
Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey
said there was virtually no frost on the vineyards he manages
in the Upper Clutha, between Wanaka and Cromwell.
Temperatures were milder than on Sunday and Tuesday mornings,
when frosts damaged new growth on vines.
Mr Dicey was still assessing the damage. He had found in past
years frost-damaged vines could still produce crops, although
they were of reduced size.
He was less concerned about damage to leaves and growing tips
than to grape inflorescences [flower clusters]. Damage would
not become apparent until after flowering and fruit-set.
Consultant Timbo Morrison-Deaker said on the 200ha of
viticulture land he |manages in the Cromwell basin and
Gibbston Valley there were "some pretty good frosts" but the
temperature in vineyards did not fall far below zero.
Mr Morrison-Deaker decided not to call in helicopters for
vines damaged in earlier frosts.
He was still surveying the damage but it would be "fair to
say" there would be a "reasonable" crop loss - "but we won't
be able to work that out until post-flowering."
• Correction: Frosts in Central Otago in the last week will
affect the quantity of grapes produced this season, not the
quality. Central Otago Winegrowers Association president
James Dicey was incorrectly quoted yesterday.