I often write about the weather, and it’s hard not to be obsessed by the weather when it controls everything we do in the vineyard.
Although June was fairly ordinary this year, at least we’ve had a summer and it looks like it may continue for a while yet.
It’s not just us though; global temperatures for the first seven months of 2016 have smashed yet more records, suggesting we are on track for the world’s hottest year on record
The global land and ocean average temperature for January to July was 1.03°C above the 20th century average, beating the previous record set in 2015 by 0.20°C. This is all good as far as growing grapes in England is concerned. What it will mean for us is better fruit set, and more even, and consistently earlier, ripening.
Which brings us back to the vineyard. Flowering was very successful, the fruit is expanding and most varieties are either almost at, or at bunch closure, when the berries swell to close the spaces in the bunch. Soon after we will hit veraison, and the grapes will soften and begin to change colour, that time of year when we go from growth to ripening.
And that’s when the all the good stuff in the grapes develop – sugar levels in the berries increase, acidity levels drop, colour increases, and the tannins become less bitter and more palatable.
We are currently trimming and leaf plucking like mad, both by hand and machine. These both keep the vines neat and tidy, allowing airflow to increase within the vineyard to ensure less disease pressure. And then it all comes down to the weather again… Looks like we’re in for a heatwave this week, but they promised us that last week, here’s hoping!