Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Harvest dates

The harvest is starting. I am going to wait before picking my grapes, but a couple of domaines in the village have started already. The photo shows the Grand Cru Clos des Lambrays being picked on Sunday (26th).

The anxiety at this time of year is horrible. Most of the stress comes from worrying about the choice of harvest date. Grapes have a narrow window of perfect ripeness and how fast they reach that optimum depends on the weather. Identifying the ideal moment to pick is easy in hindsight, but in reality organisational considerations mean I need to commit to dates at least a week in advanceā€¦ so all my Internet favourites are currently weather forecast sites!

I am expecting to start on the 8th of September. I suspect that will put me amongst the latest pickers in village, but I think the grapes badly need a bit more sun. The risk of waiting is that rot is spreading fast and one heavy rainfall could seriously compromise quality.

In general this vintage is beginning to look potentially a little mediocre. The summer has been cool, but more significantly wet. The soil has been damp almost continuously throughout the summer and the grapes are beginning to show the effects. Perhaps there will be pleasant surprises when the wine is made, but at the moment pessimists are a little easier to find than optimists.