Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
It states that a widespread spell of frost, that brought temperatures as low as minus 5°C overnight from May 17 to 18, has caused significantly more serious damage than originally estimated.
Josef Pleil, president of the Austrian Winegrowers´Association quoted a loss of approximately 6,000 hectares (ha), particularly in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria); with some 2,000 ha of partial damage and 4,000 ha of total loss.
The brunt of the cold current hit the Pulkau Valley in northern Weinviertel, along with the neighbouring South Moravian region, with this chilling weather affecting Austria’s largest region for Grüner Veltliner.
There was also frost damage to young vines recorded in the other wine-growing regions of Niederösterreich, Wien (Vienna), Burgenland and Steiermark (Styria), although the losses are not thought to be as widespread as in the Pulkau Valley, and specific to the location of the vineyard sites.
“We currently estimate a reduced yield that equates to 30-50 million litres of wine,” said Pleil. “The effects of this frost shall be noticeable next year as well. The situation has not been made easier by frost damage to Austrian vine nurseries, leading to a shortage of vine seedlings.”