Thursday, 18 July 2013

35.8C on the Vineyard!

A Sunny Albury Organic Vineyard in the Surrey Hills

The temperature on the vineyard reached 35.8C yesterday at around 2.00pm as we completed the wire lifting on Block B. We were wilting but the vines are very happy with flowering, and now fruit set, throughout the vineyard.

Now that I'm a farmer I find that I'm generally always complaining about the weather, but the current sunny warm spell couldn't be better for the vines. This hopefully bodes well for a good harvest later in the year. If the warm weather continues we could pick around 20-25 tonnes of fruit which would be around seven times more than last year!

Still I mustn't get too excited as much still needs to be done (more wire lifting, tipping of the vines, leaf plucking and weeding) and we will also need to avoid disease and the birds when the fruit begins to ripen. And then there is Alex to contend with who will be keen to pull off some of the bunches so as not to stress the vines!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Flowering and Fruit set

The beginning of flowering (Seyval)

Flowering has at last started on the vineyard, with most of the Chardonnay and Seyval showing around 25% flowers. The Pinots are a bit behind but with the current warm weather we hope that most of the vineyard will be in full flower the end of the weekend. The vines are several weeks behind their normal growth cycle because of the cold weather earlier in the year.

This is a critical time on the vineyard; immediately after flowering comes pollination and fruit set which is a major factor in determining how much how much fruit we will harvest later in the year. Vines pollinate themselves and for this to happen effectively we need a period of warm dry weather. For the last two years our summers have been wet and windy which meant that many of the grapes weren't fertilised properly. This resulted in straggly bunches which the French call Coulour or Millerandage.

Fingers and everything else crossed for the hot weather to last for a few more weeks.