In the icy lands of the vineyards of Alto Adige, a surprising scene is revealed under the attentive gaze: lit candles dance among the vines, creating an enchanted tableau reminiscent of Christmas. However, behind this beauty lies a less idyllic reality. Spring frosts pose a constant threat to winemakers, who must take drastic measures to protect the fruits of their labor.

In the picturesque Isarco valley, precisely in Bressanone, in the highest vineyard in Italy, under the shadow of the majestic Alps, the Novacella Abbey uses an ancient but effective technique to defend its lands. The heating candles, carefully placed between the rows, act as guardians against frost, preserving not only the crops but also the commitment of an entire year, in view of the imminent 2024 harvest.

This enchanted landscape brings to mind French traditions, where frosts are a more frequent threat, especially during the month of April. A week ago, here too, the arctic air knocked on the doors, bringing with it an unpleasant surprise: temperatures below zero. But the ingenuity of Novacella Abbey stood up to this sudden cold, protecting the fragile shoots that sprouted between the rows.

In the terraced vineyards of Bressanone, at an altitude between 600 and 900 metres, vine varieties such as Kerner, Sylvaner, Riesling and Grüner Veltliner thrive. These vines, although accustomed to harsh temperatures, are vulnerable during the delicate budding phase. Despite the hopes for unhindered growth, temperatures have played a cruel joke. The first shoots emerged early, but the spring frost put entire months’ work at risk.

This fight against the cold is an annual reality for winemakers in Alto Adige, who must face the uncertainties of the climate to protect their precious crops. However, among the dancing flames of the heating candles, there is also a note of hope: that of a resilient agricultural community, ready to defend its viticultural heritage with determination.


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