The frost alarm phone call in the middle of the night will jolt you out of bed. It's not exactly unexpected because through-out spring we're watching forecasts very closely and know when they're likely. But the phone call isn't exactly welcome either because it heralds the start of a long, cold night.
We have frost fans at all the vineyards, so by the time the team arrive at each vineyard the wind machines will be just starting up. Often the fans are enough on their own, to bring down that inversion layer of heat closer to the vines. Other nights there is no inversion layer and so we create our own heat by light frost pots under the frost fans to provide that warmth we need.
And from then its a waiting game, keeping an eye on the temperatures through-out the vineyards and lighting perimeter frost pots as well. We rug up, settle in somewhere warm, have a coffee from a thermos and wait until dawn in the cold and dark - until the sun rises and the chance of frost damage fades - at least for that night.
At the end of the night, we'll meet up for coffee and breakfast at our local cafe - tired and cold - but knowing our middle of the night work has saved the crop.