Churches say they are seeing congregation numbers soar as growers and winemakers across Europe show a sudden mysterious interest in religion.
Good old days
‘Usually our church is empty,’ said Abbot Ann Costello of Notre Dame de St Aubin in Burgundy. ‘But now there are dozens of growers in her from morning til night desperate for God to sort them out.
‘It’s like the good old days of the Black Death.’
Costello said the Church had been taken aback by the spiritual renaissance since ‘most of the locals are about as religious as my spaniel. Yet suddenly they are fervent in their belief in a higher power.
‘Specifically one that keeps frost away for the next three weeks.’
‘I admit I’m not particularly devout,’ said Burgundian grower Cody Nuits. ‘In fact, until a week ago I hadn’t set foot in a church since the day I was baptised.
‘But frankly having tried three different anti-gel treatments last year and still lost 80% of my crop I’m prepared to try anything. At least until the frost hazard has passed.’
If temporary prayer worked, Monsieur Nuits said he ‘might consider finding religion again in August to ward off hail.’
Diesel de vin
The French Met office says that a mild winter and warm spell in March has seen vines several weeks in advance of normal, and a cold snap now could have a similar catastrophic effect to that of 2021.
‘Usually we’d set smudge pots in the vineyards,’ said one grower, ‘but with the price of non-road diesel as it is, it’s cheaper to burn bank notes.’
Viticultural bodies have suggested that growers stockpile things that are ‘inflammatory but essentially worthless’ such as promises made by Vladimir Putin or any speech ever given by Nigel Farage.
Some vignerons, however, have rejected the idea that religion can protect their vines from Arctic air.
‘It’s just primitive mumbo-jumbo from the dark ages,’ said Rupert le Bear of the Biodynamic Union of Growers of France (BUGOF).
‘Logically, there’s no way that praying to an invisible higher power could possibly make a difference to the vast, uncontrollable forces of nature.’
Le Bear said he was instead advising his members to ward off any impending cold snap by ‘planting cow horns full of bullshit by the light of the full moon.’
Click here to see how Champagne used hot air from wine writers to keep frost at bay in 2021, and here to read about France’s special ‘vin vial’ packaging format