Grape growers fighting early frost

Central Otago grape growers have had a couple of sleepless nights, with temperatures hovering around zero.

The main grape harvest is due to begin at Easter and growers throughout the district said yesterday they had been frost fighting early on Sunday and yesterday and expected this morning to be the third in a row.

Quartz Reef winemaker Rudi Bauer said wind machines and helicopters were used at Bendigo to keep the frost away from the vines as temperatures dropped to just above zero yesterday morning.

If the grape leaves were damaged by frost it would affect the ripening of the fruit, he said.

The low temperatures were unusual for this time of year.

Dylan Turnbull, who was frost-fighting at William Hill vineyards near Alexandra, said the frost alarms had gone off two nights in a row.

"With a clear day like today, we're expecting that to be three in a row," Mr Turnbull said.

 

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