The Vine Report is back.
Regular readers of my Vine Reports will know I’ve been out of commission throughout 2014 since I was knocked down by a car. I’m walking better now and eager to get out there with my camera. I may not make the vine report every week but I should be able to manage at least one a month. Bear with!
A new year of vine reports begins.
Autumn rainstorms saw widespread flooding and a mini tornado in Serignan causing several fatalities. In Lamalou flash floods dashed cars against the famous arches at the entrance to town. They’re still clearing up.
Im Montpellier the beautiful boulevards flooded and throughout the department of Hérault there was damage and destruction. It seemed the rain would never end.
Himself and I are lucky to live in a protected position but many of our neighbours had to pump out their cellars.
Vineyards were inundated as the earth became waterlogged. Many areas were completely inaccessible as water poured from the fields onto the lanes. Villages were completely cut off.
Winter arrived and brought with it clear skies and temperatures you’d be glad of on an English summer day. We’ve recorded 23 degrees in the shade recently on our terrace. The vineyards dried quickly.
Pruning is in progress
Wine growers are making the most of this temporary warm spell. We all know the winter winds have yet to arrive – the ones that stab you in the back and make your eyes water. We need the cold spells. The vines need them. Too prolonged an unseasonal warm spell and there’s a danger the vines will wake from their winter rest. We don’t want the sap rising too soon. We want the vines’ energy kept in the roots. These sugars act as a kind of antifreeze against winter chills. We very rarely get prolonged extreme cold. Winters are short-lived here in our coastal hinterland vineyards.
So, how are the vines looking this week? I took a short walk to find out.
Remember Mademoiselle Merlot? Here she is with her companions resting under winter sun. Next door the vines are already pruned.
It’s hard to believe these gnarled old sticks will produce my favourite Languedoc rubies.
Winter housekeeping gets vines ready for their new season’s growth and freshens up their sleeping quarters.
I enjoyed my brief venture into the vineyards. But I mustn’t overdo it. Little by little is the way forward. If these old girls can keep on coming back – so can I!
I’ll leave you with a picture of the vineyard nearest my home and one of the way we celebrated our new year here in Languedoc.
A taste of Blighty! With lots of vinegar.
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