A colder than usual season that ended with particularly frosty cold snap has brought its particular blessings.  Cold Winters help to control potential outbreaks of above ground pests and diseases.   But what every wine farmer is watching for over the winter months is the number of chilling units.  This is a measure of the accumulation of cold units or chilly hours that we get in a day, when the minimum temperature is below 15°C and maximum stays under 20°C.  Different grape varietals have varied optimum chilling unit amounts, but in general; dormant vines, like other deciduous fruit plants, benefit from an abundance of chilling units, which positively affect the evenness, the profusion and quality of buds.   Chilling units is the reason why cherry farming can only happen in the coldest Winter regions of South Africa – without the requisite number of cold units, cherry trees just won’t bud and fruit.  Our vines may not be so temperamental, but this year’s sharp coldness in Avondale’s vineyards heralds an even budding, an even crop and the premium quality that is Avondale’s hallmark.