Grape growers and orchardists were poised for a big night of
frost fighting on Tuesday but some found it to be milder than
In Cromwell basin vineyards, the helicopters and wind
machines were out in force as the temperature sank to
-0.5degC, but by 5am a breeze had come up and warmed things
slightly, Quartz Reef winemaker Rudi Bauer said.
''It was an erratic night ... Effectively everyone was on
stand-by and, at the end ... there was no damage. It was
better than we were expecting.''
The temperature fell to -2degC in other parts on the basin
though and it would be a couple of days before growers would
be able to tell if there was any damage, Central Otago
Winegrowers Association president James Dicey said.
Earnscleugh and Alexandra grape growers were also out frost
Como Villa owner Johnny Chapman said he was up keeping an eye
on his water pump from about 2am until 9am yesterday as the
temperature dropped to an estimated -2degC.
Like orchardists, he fights frost by spraying the vines with
water rather than using ''quite expensive'' machines.
It was only the second time this year he had had to seriously
frost fight and said the buds, which had only burst over the
past week, were at a very vulnerable stage.
On inspection yesterday, there was no damage to his vines.
Mr Dicey said everyone was well warned and well prepared for
Gibbston Valley vineyards also saw frost fighting as
temperatures reached -1degC.
Stonefruit and apple trees are also at a vulnerable point and
orchardists too had a long night.
Cromwell orchardist Mark Jackson was out frost fighting from
about 1.30am until 7.30am as temperatures reached -1degC but
''we can handle -1 all right''.
Pipfruit New Zealand director Stephen Darling said there was
frost fighting in the Teviot Valley too as temperatures got
to just below -2degC.
''I think the fruit will come through it reasonably well. It
was quite a long frost for us ... We had water on for about
eight hours, which makes it a bit wet for orchard work.''
Mr Bauer and Mr Chapman both said they did not expect another
frost this week but would be on alert for at least the next