Frost ru­ins prized vines

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page -

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.

Pic­ture: Taelor Pelusey

Moss Wood owner Keith Mug­ford.

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