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CCOVI warns Ontario grape growers of impending deep freeze


Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is warning Ontario wineries to take whatever precautions they can during the upcoming cold spell about to hit the province this weekend.

CCOVI, through its VineAlert program, says the winter has been much warmer than the past few seasons thus far — not necessarily good news.

“The warmer weather we have been experiencing has impacted grapevine cold hardiness this year and most varieties are 1 to 3 C less hardy than last year at this time,” CCOVI says. Go here for the most recent data. “Therefore, it is important to continue to monitor vineyard temperatures and bud hardiness levels through VineAlert.”

The most recent forecasts are indicating that temperatures will drop later this week and this may have an impact on bud survival. CCOVI will provide further updates as more forecast and hardiness information are gathered this week.

From the latest round of bud hardiness sampling, the average critical temperature where bud damage may begin to occur to tender varieties (Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot) is -17.7 C. Most LTE50 values are in the range of -19 to -23 C. Growers can refer to the most recent data on VineAlert  for location and variety specific information.

Please note: Cold hardiness ratings are estimates only and the information provided is for general guidance. Cold hardiness ratings are site specific and may vary based on tree health, management practices and site conditions, among other factors. Any decisions for protection or management strategies should be based on your own information and site conditions.