By Cailey Rizzo
May 10, 2019
Abbazia di Novacella/Werner Waldboth

For the last week, some vineyards in Italy have been sporting a distinctly spooky vibe.

Those who have happened to pass through northern Italy may have noticed lines of fire between the vines during the past few nights. Winemakers in Italy are setting their vineyards aflame, but it’s not a masochistic act or some satanic ritual

Abbazia di Novacella/Werner Waldboth

Last week, an unseasonably late frost returned to Italy, bringing temperatures below freezing. In order to protect their grapes, farmers have set up “anti-frost torches” throughout their vineyards, lighting them on fire when the temperatures fell.

According to The Local Italy, the heat from 300 torches in about one hectare raises the temperature about six degrees Fahrenheit, a difference which could save hundreds of plants. A farmers’ union said that this bad weather could cause millions of dollars in damage to Italian agriculture. So, until the chill passes, thousands of small fires have been keeping grape vines and apple orchards warm from the Italian Alps to Tuscany.

May temperatures have not been this low in northern Italy since 1987, according to La Repubblica.

Abbazia di Novacella/Werner Waldboth

Italy’s cold weather is expected to continue through the weekend. There’s even a chance of snow in the Italian Alps, incredibly uncommon for the middle of May.  

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