Friday, July 25, 2008

Vintage update

Just a quick update on how the 2008 vintage is shaping up:

Basically the weather has been consistently inconsistent since bud-break; very roughly we've had a few of weeks of cool rainy weather followed by a few of weeks of hot and dry weather repeatedly since April.

The overall effect is that the vines are more or less on a normal schedule and harvest will be around the long-term average of late September.

Flowering coincided with a cool and rainy period so the fruit set has been relatively poor and total quantity is likely to be quite low. I have never before seen so much millerandage (small, unfertilised grapes – see below, and note the 2 normal-sized berries in the bunch). Millerandage is bad news for quantity, but excellent for quality since the smaller the grape the sweeter the juice and also the greater the skin/juice ratio.On the less positive side the regular rain has meant there is a bit of mildew on the young leaves. Unless it gets significantly worse it won’t have a negative effect of the grapes, but it does mean I’m spraying Bouille Bordelaise (Copper Sulphate and Lime) every 10 days to keep everything healthy.

So overall 2008 is looking very promising as we enter the two most critical months.