Wednesday Vine Report #4

sky circle

smart arse pilot made this perfect circle

On the day of vine report number 4, there was one hell of a bang. I’m just getting organized to walk up to visit our chosen vine for the next new photograph, when the almighty bang nearly knocked me off my feet. The house shook. Shutters rattled. My ears popped. Then I heard the distant scream of an aircraft engine. He was high. Very high. He’d come tearing in from the north, broken the sound barrier thingy and now he was playing games. I watched him draw this perfect circle in the sky above us. And I already had my camera to hand.

That was not Ryanair. That was no commercial flight. I don’t know what the pilot was practising for, but he/she had an admirer down here. I bet the boss knew nothing about it. Or, maybe he/she was the boss.

merlot vine

our Merlot has two leaves open!

Mademoiselle Merlot is enjoying the warmth. Here she is today. Two leaves open near the bole and the buds on the leader ready to pop. You’ll notice the ground looks different from previous photos where the land between the rows was filled with weed growth.

Here’s why:


tractor in the vines

special narrow tractors work the rows

The tractors are especially narrow so they can fit between the vines. They work the rows alternately to make for an easier turning circle at the end of each row. In some vineyards, the weeds are left to grow to maturity. This will depend on the type of grape and the balance of minerals in the soil. They actually want the weeds to take up some of the goodness from the soil if it’s too rich for the type of vine. You’ll see this particularly on vineyards specializing in organic wines where they use no chemicals at all.

tractor in the vines

preparing to turn at the end of a row

tractor in the vines

working on through the vineyard






Growth is just beginning steadily in our chosen field of Merlot. You remember that the field of Chardonnay just across the lane was romping on in the April sunshine. Take a look at it now.

Chardonnay in April

vigorous growth on the Chardonnay

grape flower spikes

these flower spikes will develop into bunches of grapes

The flower spikes (a bit blurred – I got too close) are clearly visible. These will develop into bunches of tiny grapes very soon.

Then they’ll soak up the sun and the odd shower till they’re fat and juicy. And himself and I will be filling the ice trays. Oh, yes!

The walk back along the vineyard lanes is a pleasure. The edges (you can’t really call them hedgerows) are full of spring colour.


vineyard lane

poppies already in the vineyard lane

wild garlic

white flowers of wild garlic

Wild garlic looks like it’s hiding in the grass. The leaves are good for cooking rather than the bulbs, but I won’t be disturbing them. I like looking at them just as they are.

Great drifts of blue flowers hang from mauve stalks.

wild flowers

huge drifts of blue flowers on mauve stalks

There are lots of other wild flowers I haven’t identified yet, but that’s okay. It’s another pleasant job for me to do.

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