The heat rolls on in sunny summer Bordeaux. And véraison (colour change) is here, changing the skins of our lovely Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes to black red. The count down to harvest can now start to begin.
I guess every summer is different although the contrast with either 2013 or 2014 seems incredible. The heat, the sun and so much more light – all of which explain why despite a latish start to the season, the harvest looks potentially like being a good couple of weeks earlier! That’s the wonder of viticulture.
In wet humid seasons (like the last three), organic viticulture has been a big challenge. As our regular readers all know, Paradise Rescued is passionate and committed to our value of sustainability including organic viticulture. Although it is always worth the effort – particularly in a small village with children in and around our vineyards – in those wet damp years organic viticulture can be hard work as wave after wave of disease is kept in check by timely microtreatments of naturally occurring materials. This year’s drier warmer conditions have made Pascale our vigneronne’s work a little easier.
Many properties seem to be seeing the opposite effects this season. Prolonged drought and heat stress are starting to impact on vines and foliage. Under these conditions many organically cultivated vines appear to be flourishing. Some of this may be due to the sheer volume of rain over the last couple of years or the fact that since we don’t use any synthetic fertilisers that the roots are forced to dig deeper underground to find adequate supply of both nutrients and water.
And since we don’t use herbicides, the soil under and around the plant rows is much less compacted, which continues to allow sap to pass freely up into the plants, rather than constricting the “arteries of the plant”. As we move into the final phase of this season’s fruiting cycle, our fingers are crossed as always for a good start to autumn. The final month leading up to harvest is the most crucial period of them all.
But so far, so good. And it’s Advantage Bordeaux Organic!