This week Chile declared a state of emergency as the country faces the worst frost in 84 years. The unseasonal snow and late season frost has caused widespread damage to the central region home to the country’s prized wine region.
Over the last several weeks temperatures have dropped to as low as 8 degrees below zero in certain parts of the country in what is considered Chile’s spring season. Sixty percent of the country’s fruit growers have been affected with losses to fruit growers estimated at $1 billion, and losses to vineyards estimated at $150 million, according to Reuters.
The ravaging frost has damaged peach, kiwis, nectarines, apricots and white grape crops severely. In Chile grape vines bloom from September through October. The most affected wine growing areas stretch from Bio Bio to Coquimbo.
The declared state of emergency will allow the government to offer resources to the fruit growers, agricultural businesses and wine exporters most affected by the frost. Aid will also be offered to the nearly 50,000 people left unemployed during the frost.
Chile’s fruit and wine exports yield over $6 billion in revenue annually for the country. Chile is the world’s 7th largest wine producer.