Grape growers across Europe have faced devastating frosts this spring, killing countless newly emerged buds. Vineyards in Burgundy are estimated to have had irreparable damage to 50% of their crop. Even in normally temperate Tuscany our biodynamic supplier Lorenzo Zonin has faced almost total devastation of his Petit Verdot buds.

Frosts are notoriously difficult to predict, with producers left scrambling to source small heaters, ‘bougies’ to place between their vines. Larger co-ops and wealthy estates can hire helicopters and large fans, which circulate warmer air from above down to ground level and prevent frost from settling. However, this kind of defence is out of reach for many smaller, independent growers with limited workforces.

As our weather systems grow increasingly unsettled and frosts come later and more frequently as a result of climate change, growers will be forced to adapt, often at great expense: conducting site surveys to identify areas of frost risk, investing in bougies and the manpower to tend them, planting later budding, hardier varieties. Their work in the vineyard is a labour of love, and the rest of the supply chain owes it to them to help limit our contribution to global warming potential.

Packaging and distribution are the biggest culprits here, estimated to contribute between 30-80% of the Global Warming Potential of a bottle of wine depending on its origin. This is why we have committed to delivering our wines in truly sustainable formats: Wine-on-Tap, Return Bottle, VinoTap™ and soon Canette and Bag-in-Box. Driving down waste and CO2 emissions, promoting the circular economy and encouraging the trade to commit to more sustainable practices across the supply chain is the only way we can truly say we are supporting our growers. Together we can ensure the wines we love continue to flow from taps and Return Bottles everywhere for years to come.  

frost damage in tuscany
Frost damage in Tuscany, courtesy of Podere San Cristoforo