I keep being told that this is ‘typical English summer’, which is defined as “two fine days then a thunderstorm”. But I have memories of the long hazy days with parched lawns and the red shoulders of my youth and somehow this doesn’t feel that typical. So I checked back and those blistering summers are certainly a rarity not the norm – 1911, 1933, 1959, 1976 (I remember that one) and 1995. Perhaps the norm is a two or three mini-heatwaves followed by a thunderstorm?
It’s the beginning of August and we’re due a good one. My daughter tells me we’re on for a heatwave. I do hope so as the last three have been poor and July wasn’t that great. The vines are progressing well though – they’ve put on some good growth, the berries are swelling and we’ve had to get the vine trimmer out to cut the tops off. We’ve also started leaf stripping to expose the fruit to the sun and encourage new leaf growth, because new leaves are meant to be better at producing sugars for the grapes.
We’ve also purchased a vast quantity of netting, as we lost so much fruit to birds last year. We are determined to protect the fruit and will be putting up netting around the fruiting area later this month.
The vineyard team have finished putting in posts in the new block around the entranceway, much to our neighbours relief – apologies for the incessant tapping of the post-basher. Now the wires will go on. The vines are starting to look very good and are putting on some good early growth.
So now it’s a waiting game, as we wait to see what the weather gods will bring us in August and September. We’re about a week or two behind where we were last year but that can be made up, if my daughter’s heat wave arrives. So I’ve stocked up on some nice rosé and I’m ready.
Anyway mustn’t grumble – at least we’re beating the Aussies at Cricket. Roll on the Rugby World Cup.
Ever the optimist!!
PS – The Cradle Valley – our first still white wine, a lovely blend of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay is selling very well from the Gun Room in Alfriston. You can try before you buy!!
PPS – Cameron’s so optimistic he’s booked a family holiday in early November!