Wednesday Vine Report #10 Languedoc Vinewatch June 5th. Mademoiselle Merlot looking lush.

Walking through the vineyards has been a real pleasure this week. It’s always a pleasure, but this week, the wind has warmed. I’ve been out walking without a long sleeve fleece or sweater. Carrying a bottle of water instead!

Mademoiselle Merlot is looking fantastic. Soon, we’ll have to leave the house earlier to complete our walk, before it grows too hot.

Merlot vine

at last the Languedoc sunshine is feeling warmer

The growers have clipped off the extraneous growth from the tops and bottoms of the vines. There has been some wind damage and I’ve noticed a yellowing of the leaves on some varieties. They tell me this is because of the prolonged wet weather. Perhaps this is also the reason we’ve got similar yellowing on some of our garden plants at home. Himself is investigating.

We’ve walked further and further in our quest to bring you more interesting sights . . . and sounds.

First, the sights.

vineyard track

where does this track lead?

A new adventure awaits in the trees. Another vista. Another photo opportunity? Cut through the gap in the trees, drop into a small valley, climb the other side and hey presto! You’re back in the south of France.

vineyard huts

shelters in the vineyards

We’ve seen growers out with their notepads, drawing up forecasts. Maybe the harvest is going to be late this year.

Further along one of our walks this week, we came across this:

Roses in the vines

sacrificial roses

garrigue heath land

wild flowers in the garrigue

Roses act as an early warning system for pests and diseases. We often see bushes like this planted at the ends of rows of vines. Here’s something else we often see. Hares are everywhere, especially as you climb toward the garrigue – the heathland above the vineyards. It’s virgin land in the garrigue and, after this cool spring, it’s full of colour from great swathes of wild flowers.

hare in the vines

the one that got away . . .

Drop into the hidden valleys where the tree canopy forms a roof above your head and the atmosphere changes. It’s warm and still, but over head there’s birdsong you wouldn’t hear closer to the village.

Here’s a link to the sounds of the vineyards. Red kites are circling overhead, but these little songsters are well-hidden and singing their hearts out. Lovely!

Climb higher and there are more surprises. In a clearing, look who we found.

Camargue mare and foal

white Camargue horses

Camargue foals are dark. They don’t develop their famous colour until they’re four or five years old. This beautiful mare came to say hello and her baby followed.

Camargue mare

mother . . .

What a wonderful place to grow up! Maybe one day this little chap will be the star attraction at one of the many riding schools we have hereabouts.

Camargue foal

and baby

We have three equestrian centres close to our village. Even in the heat of the summer, there’s plenty of business for them.

It remains to be seen whether we shall have a late vendange this year.

I mentioned wild flowers. Just look at these.

grasshopper

if he’d jumped . . .aarrrrgh!

Flowers and insects everywhere. I haven’t photographed the vetches and campions of my childhood days when I kept a wild flower book during my primary schooldays. There are huge drifts of flowers here that I don’t recognise. Great swathes of pink, purple and blue, almost as far as you can see.                                                                 Black honey bees are gigantic. We call them Wellington Bombers. They look so heavy I don’t know how they can get airborne. They can be quite aggressive too – best not get agitated – let them go about their business.                                            After our long walk, it’s back home for a hearty breakfast.

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black bee
DSCN0526See you next week for the next Vinewatch report.

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