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A winegrower from the Daniel-Etienne Defaix wine estate lights anti-frost candles in their vineyard near Chablis, Burgundy, France. April 7, 2021
Copyright  Jeff Pachoud/AFP

French winemakers light candles in vineyards to try and save fruit from frost

By Natalia Liubchenkova  with AFP

French farmers are fighting to prevent frost damage to vineyards and orchards in several regions of the country.

In recent days, they have been placing lit candles around the vineyards and spraying water to create a shell of ice around the buds.

Guillaume Souvant/AFP
A winegrower burns a bale of straw in the vineyards to protect them from frost on April 7, 2021 as the sun rises at the heart of the Vouvray vineyard in Touraine, FranceGuillaume Souvant/AFP
Jeff Pachoud/AFP
Winegrowers from the Daniel-Etienne Defaix wine estate light anti-frost candles in their vineyard near Chablis, Burgundy. April 7, 2021Jeff Pachoud/AFP
Guillaume Souvant/AFP
An aerial view of smoke rising from fires lit in the vineyards to protect them from frost at the heart of the Vouvray vineyard in Touraine, FranceGuillaume Souvant/AFP
Guillaume Souvant/AFP
A winegrower burns a bale of straw in the vineyards to protect them from frost as the sun rises at the heart of the Vouvray vineyard in Touraine, France. April 7, 2021Guillaume Souvant/AFP
Jeff Pachoud/AFP
Water is sprayed in the early morning in the Chablis vineyards, near Chablis, Burgundy, France. April 7, 2021Jeff Pachoud/AFP

But these efforts to save the harvest are often not enough and a large part of the crops are affected.

According to the Council of Bordeaux Wines this spring frost will severely impact the volume of the 2021 wine harvest.

"Peaches, nectarines, apricots will be rare on the shelves this year," says Daniel Sauvaitre, president of the national association of apples and pears. "We just need to know now if there are enough flowers that are still green to make a harvest," he told AFP.

April 6, 2021. Frederick Florin/AFP
Anti-frost candles burn to protect trees from frost in an orchard as temperatures are expected to fall bellow zero degrees celsius in the next few days in Westhoffen, FranceApril 6, 2021. Frederick Florin/AFP
April 6, 2021. Frederick Florin/AFP
Anti-frost candles burn to protect trees from frost in an orchard as temperatures are expected to fall bellow zero degrees celsius in Westhoffen, eastern France.April 6, 2021. Frederick Florin/AFP

"A couple of days are needed to measure precisely the extent of the damage," agriculture minister Julien Denormandie said on Thursday.