On the drought in Tuscany, 2017

This year we suddenly had frost in May for three nights. We lit wood fires lit every twenty meters in the plains; the thick low smoke freed the high pressure in the vines. Compared to all the burned and bare valley bottom vineyards in Chianti (and up to Chablis, we’ve all seen the pictures of what they have had to do there for frost), the freeze was very minor, so the vineyards are now as tall and green as any year.

The freeze of the spring passed over a land that was already completely dried out, as from December through today, it has not rained. It’s 45 degrees Celsius, and there’s a copper light dancing in the distance above the clay earth. For the drought as for the freeze, the remedy comes at night. The leaves open their pores in the darkness, so for sixty days, we sprayed a mist of water over the fields; the machines worked until we woke at dawn. The drought has left the lakes at Trinoro, from which our water comes, low, and these are our last drops. The worst of the heat is ahead of us, but at the end we can do well, using many tricks.

After this work, the entire estate shows its green vines against the stunning skies, fields encircled by dark trees and sparkling, golden light. I walk above it, thinking it looks like a little opera, something precarious, its setting about to collapse, the stage about to crumble into dust.

– Andrea Franchetti