Pascale in the Cabernet Franc vines - Passion in action!

Pascale in the Cabernet Franc vines – “hands on” continually monitoring the health of the vines.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride in the vineyards of Bordeaux as we race through the summer months. One day it is baking hot and the next it explodes into tropical rainstorms sometimes with bursts of hail. Normally one thinks of August as being that time of year when the weather settles down and vignerons go on holiday and the vines can just take care of themselves. They wish!!

Two weeks back, a mega storm cell lashed the area around Cardan. The volume of rain and water was so significant that it created widespread flooding. The village of Paillet, just 4kms from Cardan on the banks of the River Garonne, was completely submerged in nearly 2m of water. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to our neighbours there as the recovery plan gets into full swing. In Cardan, hail was reported by the authorities but happily not on our small blocks. It is indeed an interesting climatic period in the French viticultural and wine business.

Everybody knows our views now about “hands on” viticulture and this year is no exception to our rules! During the growing season between bud burst and harvest day, it is a risky process to ever walk away from the vineyard for long periods of time. Weekly checks and inspections are a critical part of the viticultural process and there is no better place to ensure the health of your vines and fruit than up close and personal in the vineyard.

Fantastic growth and progress from - baby Merlot vine in Hourcat Centre.

Fantastic growth and progress from – baby Merlot vine in Hourcat Centre.

As heavy showers continue to attack, the Paradise Rescued team continues to respond, to organically protect and nurture our crop throughout the summer. With high humidity and wet leaves, timely micro-treatments against mildew attack are still required to maintain plant health and stop disease. Last week we completed our 15th micro-treatment for the season! We are hoping though that the heavy showers start to ease up in order to provide a more stable and hopefully sunny run-in towards harvest time. After a very early and fast start to the season, the speed and progression of the cycle has slowed. As the veraison (berry colour change) is now starting and with several cloudy August days reducing the quantity of total light, an end September harvest seems more likely. A calm steady finish and slow roll out into the first weekend of October would be ideal!

We will also be on full alert for different ripening times across the blocks. With our microcuvé small vat strategy, we are ready and prepared if the Merlots make an early dash to maturity!

And the one advantage of a showery summer is the advantage it has given to our new recently planted new Merlot vines in Hourcat Centre. They are off to a flying start – along with all the weeds that require manual removal!

The storms attack but the Paradise Rescued team stands firm. Fingers crossed for a great end to the 2014 season.