Well, the past week really has been something.
I arrived back from a week of Nuffield studies in Canada on Sunday to discover, not only the Vineyard bathed in heat and sunshine but, the first flowers starting to appear. What better time for a heat wave to hit the UK than right at the start of flowering. Normally flowering will drag out over at least a couple of weeks but hopefully not this year.
This is great news, it means the vines will have plenty of fruit set, and evenly too. What can happen in years when the flowering is drawn out (when the weather is colder and wetter) is the fruit will set unevenly or not at all in extreme cases. This obviously affects our yields, and can make management difficult when we have berries of all different sizes in the same bunch (when very poorly set the small berries may not ripen causing the overall wine quality to slip due to higher acid levels).
Of course it’s not all down to one year, this years flowers and fruit began their journey into existence in spring of last year, and while I wont go into a biology lesson here, the bunch has to have a number of factors in its favour before it will eventually be confirmed as even a flower cluster.
While this short period of hot weather has helped flowering we’re not out of the woods yet. It will still take a little while for it to complete and before we start to see berries form, luckily the next week or so the forecast is looking reasonably favourable, fingers crossed.