SAXON, Switzerland Ė Flaming anti-frost candles flickered between rows of budding vines in Swiss Alpine valleys on Thursday as wine growers strove to thwart harsh frosts brought on by unseasonably low temperatures.
The mercury dropped below freezing overnight in the Canton of Valais, a mountainous region of Switzerland nestled between the borders of Italy and France.
In a bid to save budding grapevines from frost damage, growers around the towns of Saxon and Riddes ignited row upon row of anti-frost candles, peppering the crisp valley floor with an orange glow just before daybreak.
When the sunís rays crept over the craggy mountains towering above the valley, wine farmers used sprinklers to douse their trellises with a thin layer of water which then froze in the early morning cold.
As the water freezes, it releases latent heat which, in turn, protects the fresh springtime shoots from the harsh frost.