It’s no secret that the weather over the past few months has been rubbish. Given that we’re now in the middle of meteorological spring, and it’s the beginning of June, when will it properly warm up? It’s of little comfort that its not just us suffering, reports from Champagne, the Loire, Germany and even as far south as Provence and Tuscany are stating below average temperatures with vine growth well behind where they should be.
Usually the meteorological spring comprises of 3 months, however March as most of us would rather forget was a winter month, and not just a normal winter month, it was a colder than average winter month that then decided it would extend into early April. So by default we should see a late, long and hot (ok maybe warm) summer as the jet stream moves into a more normal position, bringing with it more settled weather. June at least is looking slightly better with the daily minimums starting to pick up at the end of the first week.
So what does all this mean for the vineyard and vines? Leading up to budburst in vines, key factors that are needed are adequate soil moisture (we’ve had plenty of that) and sunshine with temperatures above 10°C (growth occurs when mean daily temperature exceeds 10°C).
Now that spring has finally decided to rear its head from the depths of winter, I can safely say that we have finally hit budburst properly on all varieties across both the existing and this year’s plantings in the last few weeks. Not just budburst either, we’re starting to see some decent growth, the Riesling and Pinot Meunier are again looking good in the warmer parts of the vineyard with the Pinot Noir not far behind. Our poor old Chardonnay, which is on the more exposed slopes, has actually started well and has surprisingly even growth.
What we now hope for is that settled weather we’ve been missing for the past year, pretty soon we’ll be seeing our vines flowers become more exposed just waiting for the sunshine. Meanwhile, we’ll be enjoying the new green growth, the warm spring days, and the growing intensity of the sun. In these gentle spring days you can almost hear the vineyard growing. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this continues and slowly develops into the summer we’ve all been hoping for. One thing that working in vineyards has taught me over the years is that no two years are the same, and even a slow start can eventually change into a wonderful year, and yes, there’s still plenty of posts to go in.