Are you looking for an alternative to Bougies?

 In Vineyard establishment

Frost events

Climate change is driving more extreme weather events. In 2017 some vineyards had 10–15 frost events during the critical period post bud burst, with reports of 70-80% of young buds and shoots damaged.


Many vineyards in England and Wales commonly use bougies (candles) as effective frost protection. However, this comes at a price.  Per hectare a vineyard will need 300 – 400 bougies per frost event.  At £8-10 per candle this is an expensive undertaking and that price does not take into account the labour required to layout, light and extinguish the bougies.

Frost Fans: an effective alternative

One of the best alternatives to bougies is Mobile Frost fans. They have auto-start technology together with in-built temperature sensors so they automatically turn on when the temperature in the vineyard falls, saving time,effort and risk. Using minimal fuel per night they also provide an environmentally effective solution to vineyard frost risks.

Mobile frost fans will last at least 10 years and can be run for as many frost events as needed. The running costs and maintenance requirements are minimal, and they can be moved around in the vineyard easily and stored away when not in use. No planning permission is required, and they are much quieter than older frost fans used to be

Crunching the numbers

Investing in Mobile Frost fan technology will cost between £30–35k. This capital outlay may initially seem expensive however over the years this could save your vineyard thousands and thousands of pounds in potential crop loss.

If you have 4 hectares to protect:

  • Bougies will cost £9,600 per year – covering only 1 or 2 frost events per year
  • Frost Fans will cost £3,600 per year (over 10-years) – covering all frost events

Vineyards are long-term investments; if you have a frost issue/risk in your vineyard it’s well worth investing in the right technology to get the most effective and efficient protection.

There is no one size fits all model of protection as each vineyard site and risk level is different, but just looking at bougies vs mobile frost fans it’s clear to see that choosing the right protection could save you dearly.

We are offering vineyards a free 20-minute consultation with our Climate and Viticultural expert Dr Alistair Nesbitt to discuss your individual vineyard needs.  Please get in touch or give us a call.

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