Ever seen a cypress do the splits?

by Laura Gray on February 3, 2012

It’s no secret that a Siberian cold spell has Europe in its icy grasp. Montalcino’s mayor closed the school on Wednesday and every day since then, conveyed by a flurry of midnight text messages from mother to mother. There’s no meat left in the Coop, the elderly are skittering about on the roads and many farmhouses on the northern slopes have been without electricity for two days now. We are sitting tight at Il Palazzone; there are over 50 cm of snow and our road is impassable by car. The snow is positive for the vineyard since it is a great way for the soil to absorb a substantial quantity of water. Sadly this is not so true for the olive trees and we are all crossing our fingers. Their branches are weighed down with snow; the risk is that they break and then be frozen by the cold. The forecast weather has been billed as the coldest since 1985 (and before that 1956). For me personally, winter 1985 is indelibly linked to the vivid memory of watching my father breaking and then burning the kitchen furniture to keep us warm. For Montalcinese 1985 is unforgettable because it was the year the olive trees froze. For Club100 olive tree owners reading this and fearing for the livelihood of their trees, in 1985 the thermometers in S.Angelo Scalo read -25°C (-13°F). The sky is a dirty-blanket grey, snowflakes are falling thick and fast and temperatures are meant to go down to –10 this weekend (14°F)….Brrrr.

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