As you may be aware from press reports, most vineyards in the south-east of England experienced frost damage last Thursday morning.
Denbies have several anti-frost measures which have been deployed extensively over the past couple of weeks. The tow and blow machine (pictured), (which resembles a large desk fan) oscillates the air therefore preventing ground frost. Likewise, the frost buster is driven through the vines, again for air movement. A very important factor is the creation of temperature fluctuations: at each passing of the Frostbuster, the temperature rises shortly and drops again. These fluctuations create a big part of the protection that is obtained with the Frostbuster, however, even with these extensive measures in place, with temperatures recorded at -.6⁰c it was impossible to avoid damage in certain areas. We have to give huge thanks to the vineyard team, in particular Dave Fallon, Vineyard Manager, who worked tirelessly throughout the nights.
The damage is patchy, in parts the vineyard has lost quite a few of the primary buds but we still remain optimistic for a crop that will produce a quality harvest if not as big as the last few years. If you are visiting the vineyard, you will see areas where buds are already starting to come through.
However, there is some positive news. Over the past 4 years, Denbies has experienced outstanding harvests which have enabled the winery to have at least two years supply of wine in stock. This ensures that both internal and external wine supplies will not be affected in any way.
At the moment it is too early to assess the extent of the frost damage but we will be providing regular updates on the Denbies blog.