It seems incredible that less than 2 months ago we were looking at a wintry scene of frost, shortly followed by the severe damage to the young shoots and grapes, as reported in our Spring newsletter. We have had a pretty warm Spring since, and a heatwave early June with temperatures in the high 30’s. This means the vines have quickly re-grown new shoots to replace the frost-damaged ones, but not always grapes, unfortunately.
In the areas undamaged by the frost, the vines are growing well, business as usual, apart from a touch of mildew, but nothing sinister as yet. In the damaged areas, it is a mixed bag. Certain areas have grown new shoots and foliage but no grapes, some have grown new foliage and a few grapes, and some (the partially damaged ones) have developed straggly bunches of grapes, a phenomenon called millerandange which occurs when some grapes in a bunch fail to properly form. The new foliage is also growing extremely rapidly, causing a bit of extra work trimming and tidying up.
Where we do have new grapes, they are of course somewhat behind the grapes that were undamaged. A first for us, we have some grapes at ‘petit pois’ stage (see below right), and others still flowering (below left), all within the same area of vines. That’s about 1 month difference, which if maintained until the harvest, will cause severe headaches – we cannot afford to throw under ripe grapes into the mix, neither can we leave grapes to over ripen whilst waiting for others to catch up.
The vegetal cycle will be shorter for grapes that came later, as the days are longer and warmer by definition, so that one month gap between the maturity of original and re-grown grapes will narrow. However, we still need a good, hot summer to narrow that gap to around one week, which can be managed.