So far, on this blog, I was telling you about the story of how the Domain came to be and all the necessary steps to restore and restructure it.
Some chapters will still be referring to previous years, but you will also predominantly find many articles about what is currently happening on Domain grounds. Allowing you to follow, in real time, my life on the vineyard.
With the current heatwave, 37 to 39 °C in the afternoon, I only visit the vines in the morning or in the evening around 8pm. Or else I may start to melt and morph into a puddle (I may be exaggerating a bit). The grapes are growing properly despite some random mildew attacks caused by specific weather conditions, ideal for this disease; heat and rain. I wish the cycle would end soon. Vines prefer dry heat.
Every year, we install electric fences around all vine plots in anticipation of the arrival of wild boars. In fact, when barries will start to grow and become sweet, they will be targets for these critters who seem addicted to them. The sheer quantity of grapevines a wild boar can eat is astonishing. Especially true since I went full organic. Wild boars are, clearly, connoisseurs and concerned about their health because they prefer to eat my non-chemically-treated grapes over those of my neighbours.
The efficiency of electric fences cannot be proven to reach 100%; some wild boars always manage to step over the fences. Without damaging them, even. In the early morning of one day, I saw a huge boar comfortably installed between two rows of vines while the fence was working and untouched. I never managed to actually see any of them step on or go over the fence, but they DO cross over… and they eat my grapevines.
I can tell you I’m not really in speaking terms with those creatures. Especially when, during harvest, some 3/4 eaten racemes make their way on the sorting table. Some harvesters have a weird sense of humour. Finding it quite funny to add some of those racemes without any fruit left into the collecting buckets… probably so I can realise how much the local wildlife loves my grapes.
Which allowed me, by the way, to realise that certain varieties are more popular amongst the wild boar population. The cinsault variety for instance – with a huge berry size – is their favourite.
A few days ago, some of my grape berries started to change colour, turning from green to purple (a natural process named veraison). When most grapes will have reached that stage, it will mean that harvest time is only 40 days away. That’s the time required for berries to get bigger and gather sugar. The hotter the weather is, the sweeter the grapes will be. And the sweeter the grapes are, the higher the alcohol level will be; basically, the whole concept of grape fermentation is to naturally convert sugar into alcohol.
That’s the exact reason why wines elaborated in Southern hot regions often end up with a higher degree of alcohol than some wines made in colder Northern areas.
August is quite a calm month in terms of things we have to actually do to the vines. Everything has been made beforehand. The berries only need to be left to grow on their own, hoping that the big evening storms we see these days will finally stop, or they will start to damage the grapes.
I think most of you must be on holidays right now but I will give you some news from time to time, waiting on the very important harvest time, which should start around the 20th of September.
See you later.
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Adapted from the original French by Yann Sicamois.