Friday, July 28, 2006


Well the good new is that the powdery mildew I reported a couple of weeks ago is under control and won’t be an issue at harvest.

The bad news is that we had a mighty thunderstorm last night. Hailstones the size of marbles absolutely thrashed down for about a minute. It breaks my heart to see what were perfect bunches now looking decidedly worse for wear. Now we really need a spell of warm, dry weather to desiccate the damaged berries and prevent rot from taking hold.

It could be worse. I have one small vineyard which escaped totally unscathed. And 2km north of here the destruction is total… i.e. no harvest this year.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Baby blackbirds

Not wine related for a change…

I have a family of blackbirds living in my courtyard. I had noticed a bit of activity in my one tree, but didn’t really think much about it. Yesterday was quite windy and when I returned from the vines I found three baby birds hopping around the courtyard. I’m guessing they are too young to fly back to the nest, or perhaps they just don’t want to. Anyway I’ve put lots of food out, and they seem to be doing well.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Powdery mildew

Apologies for the lack of updates of late. Anyway…

It is still hot and humid here in Burgundy. In the past month we’ve had just two days below 26ºC (80ºF)! As I write it is 35ºC (95ºF)… and hence I am inside seeking shelter from the sun.

The vines are looking good. The flowering passed at record speed and the bunches are now fully formed. I’m all excited because my vines have quite a bit of millerandage (tiny, seedless berries) this year. At harvest-time these small berries are sweeter than average and have a higher skin/juice ratio, both of which should be good for the wine.

My only slight concern is the growing presence of powdery mildew (see photo of me spraying above…). Just in case you are now thinking that you don’t want to drink a wine made from sprayed grapes… ALL grapes are regularly sprayed against fungal diseases. Organic producers are limited to natural (i.e. non-synthesised) products (sulphur in the case of this photo), which are without consequence for even the heaviest drinker! Unfortunately organic sprays are also rather less effective than the ‘conventional’ chemical alternatives…