Fanning the Titus Frost

On our last trip to Napa we encountered a classic piece of agriculture technology at Titus vineyards – a 50+ year old frost fan, claimed to be the oldest in the county.  The giant frost fans that tower over the occasional vineyard in the region are mostly used in the spring to prevent frost from destroy budding vines.  More popular in the mid-20th century, the large fans are relatively rarer these days.

These older diesel fans have at times created controversy, largely on account of the amount of noise they can produce. Typical noise is 70 to 80 decibels, but some have been reported at “an ear-splitting 97 decibels,” described as sounding like being in an air raid.

The Titus fan brooded silently for a while we enjoyed our morning sitting at a picnic table tasting Titus’ wines, which were excellent, before roaring to life and settling into a slow and steady purr.