As we have reached the middle of the growing season, it seems like a great time to bring you an update from the vineyard. Pascale sends us regular emails and feedback and Albane has just visited the vineyard in her capacity as Organic Viticultural Adviser.

Overall we are in good shape at this point of the 2011 season. Despite the very dry first half of the growing period, we have survived better than most growers due to our organic strategy. Through very limited use of any fertilisers, the roots are forced to grow deep into the soil in search of nutrients and water so during dry periods our vines are now able to find moisture deep below the surface to sustain growth. That said, the rain two weeks ago was very welcome. The mini drought has taken its toll with some grapes bursting and ejecting their seeds. Although this reduces the yield, this “natural selection” process isn’t all bad news as it effectively does our job for us in selecting the best fruit to carry through and mature for harvest.

From the perspective of disease, the vines remain in excellent health with only light organic treatments required. Pascale has clipped the top of the shoots as we consolidate the green canopy. The harvest will be earlier than last year – probably mid September – as a result of the early warm spring.

Finally the wine! Our lovely 2010 Cab Franc continues to mature and gain complexity in the oak barrels. So much so, that Albane has asked to postpone the bottling to mid August. Again, that’s a very positive sign – on top of the already excellent tasting results.