We love writing about Bordeaux and our vineyard at this time of year. Why? Well, quite simply because no one else wants to write at this time of year. It isn’t very sexy to talk about budding shoots, organic treatment, spring growth, sunshine and the season ahead. At this very early stage, one can only speculate about the wine production and quality ahead, there haven’t been any natural disasters to report on (that we know of) and generally the news is positive! We like these sort of stories best – that’s our kind of media!

The early spring view across Hourcat Sud Cabernet Franc block from Cherry Tree corner

                                 The early spring view across Hourcat Sud Cabernet Franc block from Cherry Tree corner

Bad news may sell better but it often means something may not be going well with the wine. Whilst we like to share all news openly, we naturally prefer good news and even better wine – this would actually be a better plan in life for everyone but we will save that leadership blog for another day.

Budburst from one of our 55yo Merlot vines

    Budburst from one of our 55 year old Merlot vines

The season started fairly early in the Bordeaux vineyards and at Paradise Rescued – initial growth was possibly tracking the super early 2011 season / vintage. A cooler wet spell happily slowed the pace and now the vineyards are back in bright clear mild sunshine. Happily there was no late frost so the first potential hurdle of the season has passed without making any news! As expected Merlot, with its’ earlier growing / ripening season was the first to open its’ new buds back in early April with Cabernet Franc following 10 – 14 days later with some variation according to their position in the Hourcat Sud block.

Initial organic treatments to guard against mildew have been light – in line with our values and organic viticultural strategy – but necessary with fairly high levels of humidity in the vineyard due to heavy spring rain showers and the preceding wet winter conditions. Some initial biodynamic preparations are being applied although the mild winter conditions did not suit the preparation of the special composts. Under vine we have continued where we left off in 2013 with soil being harrowed under all vines and grass being grown between alternate rows, thus allowing better drainage and aeration of the vineyard and preserving natural eco friendly areas in the grass sections for wildlife and natural predators to thrive. And of course, no herbicides allowed! Our learning, passion for continual improvement and desire to maximise the potential from our small vineyard blocks continues strongly.

Towards the winery Hourcat Centre block ready for planting

Towards the winery – Hourcat Centre block ready for planting

Hourcat Centre has dried out again… excitement is growing as we prepare to replant this lovely block of land within the next 2 weeks. We will blog again on this special milestone after it has been accomplished. There is a lot that needs to be said on both a viticultural and leadership learning level about what is being achieved on this small 0.25ha block that I hope will inspire many people.

In the meantime, a busy but successful Spring in the Bordeaux vineyards for Paradise Rescued.