Frost ruins prized vines
One Wilyabrup winemaker has copped the brunt of a “once in 40 years” frost that devastated his chardonnay vines and killed about 4800 bottles worth of finished product.
Nearly 80 per cent of Moss Wood’s chardonnay vines on the original 1976 planting were damaged when temperatures plummeted on Saturday morning.
Margaret River’s Woodlands Wines confirmed some young chardonnay vines had been affected and one grower in the Great Southern reported losses of 25 per cent, but few experienced widespread damage like Moss Wood owner and winemaker Keith Mugford.
“Frost is usually a once in every 10 years experience,” Mr Mugford said.
“But at this level, it’s more like once in 40.” Frost dam- ages fruit when temperatures hit zero degrees or less and the landscape in Wilyabrup made some nearby wineries vulnerable.
Margaret River Wine Association chief executive Amanda Whiteland said “an isolated pocket of vineyard” was the only area affected.
Mr Mugford said the frost was so selective that some vines had a combination of affected and unaffected fruit.
He suggested it could very well be an isolated incident at his property, which saw pockets of cold air funnel down hill and into the vineyards.
Fraser Gallop Estate owner Nigel Gallop said water catchments on his property helped protect against frost.
While frost can kill off a season’s fruit, vines generally are unaffected long-term.
Moss Wood owner Keith Mugford.