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It is hard to express how receiving an email, reading and forwarding it, followed by a text accompanied by a video clip makes you feel. You receive the notice from Consorzio Barbera d'Asti e Vini del Monferrato asking all producers that have been impacted by the frost on April 7 and 8, to review & report all damages, etc… and suddenly you find yourself in the un-envious position of praying it has not affected your babies, your land, your neighbours… you catch yourself hoping this was more of a panicked and not-real .

A text followed by a call and two video clips sent from our farmer Ivo, and this is just heartbreaking. This is what he wrote “alla volta che una verde, ma in general sono bruchiate del gelo -- una gelata vera e propria” -- every many burn-frozen sprouts you find one green, but in general they are all frost-burned.

Now we start the detailed survey for us and to send Consorzio Barbera for governmental registry. Mother-nature at its best. If there is a silver lining it is that there will be a second flowering, not as powerful as the first, but since Italy does not allow for irrigation, the vines are as strong as it gets, resilient and deeply rooted, and I hope they fight this fight, and survive. From this count we will also know how many vines we lost, not only sprouts. Good luck to all -- I guess no need for crop-reduction this year of 2021.

A couple of days have passed since this first impression, the survey was done and the damages are smaller than initially thought. Our most valuable grape, the Nizza Barbera suffered a loss of around 40% (in Mombercelli), and at our “cru” area, the Nizza Barbera in Castelnuovo Calcea 22.5%. With the second germination, things should be a bit better, but this was really mother-nature at its best!

Thank The Lord, the white grapes, our Nascetta, had little damage - only around 17..5%. Certainly a year to be remembered!

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