Wednesday Vine Report Languedoc January 2015

The Vine Report is back.

Serignan tornado damage

picture from local press of tornado damage

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.

Lamalou floods2014

picture from Getty images of Lamalou flood 2014

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.

Montpellier floods 2014

flooded avenue in Montpellier

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.

vine flooded

vines flooded and roads blocked

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.

Vines January 2015

Mademoiselle Merlot’s vineyard

Remember Mademoiselle Merlot? Here she is with her companions resting under winter sun. Next door the vines are already pruned.

Vines January2015-2

all neat and tidy

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.


this is the way we want you to grow!

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.


hillside vines

fish and chips

fish and chips from the van

A taste of Blighty! With lots of vinegar.

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