Virginia wine-growers, already suffering Covid-related tourism and restaurant losses in April 2020, were dealt a further blow when frost hit in May. Workers battled an extended cold snap with bonfires, smudge pots, wind machines and helicopters. The result was minor frost damage for all and major devastation for some.
Any remaining optimism withered like so many young buds when freezing temperatures a week later cost vulnerable sites their entire 2020 vintage. As of early September, those who survived had the possibility of an otherwise solid harvest.
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It’s an apt case study in topsy-turvy perseverance: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Or, as Virginia’s longest-tenured viticulturist, Barboursville Vineyards’ Fernando Franco, put it: ‘Just another challenging, beautiful Virginia vintage.’