Helicopters fly low over vineyards to push warmer air from the inversion layer down onto the freezing ground, circulating the air.
Helicopters fly low over vineyards to push warmer air from the inversion layer down onto the freezing ground, circulating the air. Tristan Rayner from Lost at E Minor

Choppers frost fighting for NZ wineries

THE Marlborough region in New Zealand produces more than fifty percent of New Zealand’s finest wine.

However, the cold climate means some innovative solutions are needed to combat grapes being damaged by frost as they grow in early spring.

Enter the helicopter, flying low over vineyards to push warmer air from the inversion layer down onto the freezing ground and circulating the air. This has meant that more than 150 helicopters — a large portion New Zealand’s fleet — were in use over a small region at one time.

Brett from Nautilus wines explained that on average, the ‘choppers are called in for around three days a year to protect the crop. While helicopters might seem expensive, losing precious wine producing grapes can result in millions lost to frost.

The only alternative is to pick the grapes while frozen, producing wines known as ‘ice’ wines, which are very sweet as the water is frozen off, leaving a more concentrated flavour.

For more cool travel check out Lost at E Minor.

>> More travel stories


NAMED: Full list of people fronting Emerald court

Premium Content NAMED: Full list of people fronting Emerald court

A number of people will appear for a range of different charges.

Storm warning: Hail, heavy rain and damaging winds forecast

Premium Content Storm warning: Hail, heavy rain and damaging winds forecast

Heavy rainfall, damaging winds and large hailstorms are possible.

‘No junk mail': Lewd surprise on letterbox

Premium Content ‘No junk mail': Lewd surprise on letterbox

A dildo bandit left one Mackay family in hysterics after placing an ominous looking...