September 2018: Vineyard News
When I last wrote it had been an unusually hot and dry start to summer but I wasn’t expecting it to continue as long as it did.
Once the labour-intensive work of tucking in and shoot selecting was over I finally got the chance to see just how many grapes have formed over these hot months. At a rough estimate I’d say we have a crop that is double its usual size. Things can still go wrong at the final furlong but the quality and size of the grapes looks really good and they seem to be ripening earlier as well.
A usual weekly event for me is mowing on my little tractor but the dry weather has meant that the grass stopped growing weeks ago. Whilst rather convenient for me, I know it’s caused a major headache for the local dairy and sheep farmers who have been paying to feed their livestock on hay at a time when their feed is usually free grass! Even my vines started to show a little bit of stress toward the start of August as they began to try and ripen their heavy load of grapes in ground that was rock solid with no moisture in it. Thankfully, the bit of rain we’ve had since then has lessened this stress and we are now just waiting the final few weeks for harvest.
I’ve spent August thinning out my heavy Seyval blanc crop and putting netting up to prevent birds from eating the now very obvious reddening Pinot noir grapes. Thankfully I don’t have to net my white Seyval grapes as the birds don’t seem to notice them. Late summer is the time of year where wasp colony behaviour changes and they start to look drunkenly for sources of sugar. We’ve seen a few wasps around but I think the very cold, wet winter we had must have stifled them a little as they don’t seem so numerous for me this year.
On the wine front, the 2017 Pinot noir rosé is selling out fast as usual and our first sparkling white wine is resting ready to go on sale in the autumn. Watch this space!
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