How do the vines survive Quebec winters?

In Quebec, winter can be very damaging for some vines. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the snow falling in abundance everywhere in Quebec that is the problem. On the contrary, it is an excellent insulator for the vines. Rather, it is extreme cold that can damage certain varieties of vines. While more hardy varieties will survive temperatures down to -30 ° C without much problem, vitis vinifera will suffer damage if temperatures drop below -22 ° C.

Some hybrids, such as vidal, will be damaged above -26 ° C. So that they can produce beautiful bunches the following season, these varieties must therefore, once the grapes have been picked, be protected from the onslaught of cold. Different techniques are used today, depending on the region, the vineyard and the grape variety.

 

Two protection techniques

  • The more resistant vines are protected by snow which acts as an insulator against the extreme cold in Quebec – so, yes, snowstorms are good for our vines!

  • The less resistant to cold vines are protected by geotextile membranes installed on the feet of the plants. The ground warms the interior of the tent formed by the membrane, thus protecting our vines and their buds.

 « Winter is an enemy and, at the same time, an ally. It is the central element of the Quebec vineyard, which gives it all its uniqueness. That’s why you have to learn to work with the cold. »
– Matthieu Beauchemin, winemaker at Domaine du Nival, in Montérégie