It’s always great to be back writing a Vine2Wine blog post again and sharing the news from Cardan with you. When we last wrote some lines from the vineyard, we were all excited with the prospect of what spring was about to deliver! Well let’s fast forward….

The Cabernet Franc vines in Hourcat Sud looking towards Foucaud

                  The Cabernet Franc vines in Hourcat Sud looking towards Foucaud

Apart from a lot of cold rain, spring never really happened! And by the end of May, the phone calls between Pascale, Albane and myself had increased to twice weekly as our concern for the weather situation and potential vineyard health grew. As we noted in several media posts elsewhere, the wine world was busy tasting the initial 2012 releases and talking about last year’s spring rather than looking out of the car window at this year’s events.

Cold wet springs are not abnormal in Bordeaux….in fact when you look back over many years, they are quite common and have had no detriment on the quality of the final fruit. Just 2013 has taken it to a new extreme! The good news is that sunshine has arrived at just the right time. And whilst cold wet spring conditions have pushed the vineyard team to the maximum in preventing mildews, it has been the lack of sunshine and cold which has been the main concern holding the vines from progressing and significantly raising  the risk of “coulure” or failure of the berries to set.

The main impact so far of the cold spring has been to hold back flowering and fruit setting which ultimately means a fairly late harvest is likely. With our microclimate and CabFranc and Merlot grape varieties, picking will probably occur towards the middle of October. But a lot can still change through the season. Plenty of light and sunshine can speed the process up.

Our vigneronne Pascale provides careful hands on attention to every vine

     Our vigneronne Pascale provides careful hands on attention to every vine

At least it was great to receive a “happier” email from Pascale this weekend. The excess shoots and leaves have had their first trim back and we are inverting the under vine grass management programme to adapt to the changed conditions – cut and clean under the vines, grass between the rows.

Let’s hope the season can now continue to “fast forward” into summer.