Wednesday Vine Report #7 15th May 2013

It’s just six weeks since I began the Wednesday Vine report. The vineyards look completely different from that first day. In pictures from Vine Report number one, we were looking for the first signs of sprouting buds. Today, you can hardly see the earth between rows of lush, green growth.

DSCN0404

Merlot vines day one

early April

I’ve seen the winegrowers out in the vines spraying again. We’ve had overnight rains, too, and everything is growing like the clappers, including, of course, all the weeds. I’ve never seen thistles so high or so many poppies popping up everywhere.

Poppies in the vines

poppies in the vineyards

The wind is sometimes still quite cool. There’s still snow atop the Pyrenees so if the wind’s coming from that direction, it’s like having nature’s air-conditioning system on. Or standing by the chiller cabinets in the supermarket.

France weather map

meteo France weather map

We’re all keeping an eye on the weather. It’s been an unusual spring so far. Very changeable. Temperatures playing yo-yo. The forecast from Thursday is not so good.

We don’t want those storms wandering our way. Heavy rain or the possibility of hail would not be welcome here. The baby grapes are setting on their stalks. Hail and heavy rain now would damage them. This year, everything seems to be at least three weeks behind its usual pace of development and that late snow on Canigou might have delighted skiers, but is causing headaches down here.

baby grapes

tender young growth

These babies really have all the water they need. The water table is high. Drainage ditches are still running with water that leaks from the land and is channeled down the hills toward the run-offs.

What’s required now is a bit less wind and warm, warm sun, building up to hot, hot sun for juicy fat fruit.

Merlot Day One

Merlot Day One

Mademoiselle Merlot is romping along the support wires. She’s got a lot of frilly, fresh green on her skirts and is looking really quite playful. Doing a line dance!

Here she is below, taking centre stage in this photograph, almost unrecognisable from the picture on the left on Day One. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it, that an old gnarled, knobbly bit of a stick like that can turn into a vibrant plant with such abundant, verdant growth?

Merlot vine

Mademoiselle Merlot – centre frame May 15th 2013

But that’s not the best bit, is it? The fruits that come along later go into the finest wine, able to grace the most discerning table.

Chardonnay vines

Chardonnay vines

Across the lane in the Chardonnay vineyard, the vines are still leading the race as you’d expect. They look as though they are enjoying the cooler conditions this spring. Their side of the hill is turning completely green.

Languedoc vneyards

. . . as far as the eye can see

I can’t imagine I would ever tire of looking at this place where I’m lucky to live. I love it in all its seasons. We don’t have an extravagant lifestyle, but this beautiful country offers riches beyond what money can buy.

The lanes through the vineyards cross vistas so stunning they take your breath away.

Pyracantha

hedges full of blossom

Pyracantha hedges are full of blossom now and loud with the humming of bees. The sky is such a perfect blue it looks unreal. Look closer into the blossom where the buzzing noise is coming from.

busy bee

where would we be without her?

These Pyracantha hedges are great for wildlife. In spring they’re full of bees and in autumn they’re full of birds eating the orange berries. What a fabulous system. We should do all we can to support the natural way of doing things.

That’s it for this week. I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures of our walk through the vines.

Languedoc vines

looking toward the water tower

You can see the Montagnes Noir in the background.

wild flowers

California poppies growing wild

blue butterfly

Cupido Minimus Minimus – small blue butterfly

I found these California poppies growing wild in a patch of scrubland. Their bright orange contrasts well with the surrounding green. I think I might crop this image and use it for one of my random headers.

There are so many butterflies as you walk through the heath, it seems the air is filled with them as if you’d just walked into a Disney cartoon. Ah well, it’s appropriate. Sometimes I do feel like Mary Poppins – there’s so much magic going on all around.

And here’s where it culminates – one of these every day and you could be like the French, who despite their love of pastries and dairy have the lowest incidence of heart problems in all Europe.

glassmerlot

good health to you. Cheers!

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