May 23, 2012: Vineyard temperatures in Austria plunged to – 5° C overnight between May 17 and 18 causing far more damage than was first expected, according to a news release from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. Josef Pleil, President of the Austrian Winegrowers´Association said that the maximum loss was in Niederösterreich or Lower Austria where 4,000 ha were totally lost while about 2,000 ha suffered partial damage. Pictured: Austria’s frost bitten vineyards
The extreme temperatures which were due to a cold current that hit the Pulkau Valley in northern Weinviertel along with the neighbouring South Moravian region, affected Austria’s largest Gruner Veltliner region. Other vine growing regions of Lower Austria, Vienna, Burgenland and Styria, also reported damage to young vines although the damage was specific to vineyards sites and not as widespread as the Pulkau Valley.
“”We currently estimate a reduced yield equal to 30 to 50 million litres of wine,” Pleil said, pointing out that the effects of this frost would also be noticeable in the following year. The situation was made worse by frost damage to Austrian vine nurseries, which will cause a shortage of vine seedlings. The late frost damage has affected over 10% of the Austrian vineyard area.