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Harvest 2017

Posted by on 17 Oct 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The 2017 harvest is over. The grapes have been picked, fermentation has finished and we pressed the wines a couple of days ago. Quantity is excellent but very, very small quantities. Here are some photos of the 2017 harvest. Handpicking, (very) small batch vinification, pressing and, finally, a praying mantis basking on some grape skins.

Harvest 2017

Harvest 2017

harvest 2017

harvest 2017

Pressing Syrah

Pressing Carignan

Mante religieuse

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It’s a bug’s life in the vineyard

Posted by on 12 Jul 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Some bugs in our Carignan vineyard

The vineyard is a busy with bugs at the moments. Mercifully none that are harmful to the grapes. These photos were taken yesterday in our Carignan vineyard.

This elegant fella is difficult to spot. First time I’ve seen one of these this year.

Green stick insect

Cicadas are everywhere at the moment. Dive-bombing their way through the vineyard and making a racket. The sound of the mediterranean.

Cicada resting on vine

Ephippiggers are very striking. This one is very green but they also come with black stripes and look like humbugs.

Ephippigger or bush cricket

The ubiquitous snail. More in our garden than in the vineyard.

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Friday photo – Syrah grapes

Posted by on 30 Jun 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Syrah pre veraison

This very green photo is of a fine looking bunch of Syrah grapes. The next stage is ‘veraison’, when the grapes turn red which should start in 2 to 3 weeks.

The whole vineyard is looking extremely green at the moment. The vines are much bushier than last year thanks to the plentiful rainfall we have had in the spring and also this week. It is also very noisy in the vineyard. The cicadas are in full voice and are very active, dive bombing as you walk along the rows.

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2017 – Frost and fruit (or not)

Posted by on 22 Jun 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

2017  in the vineyard – highs and lows

The morning of the 18th April was when the big frost hit the Languedoc. Not all vineyards were affected – it depended on topography but unfortunately our vineyards were badly hit. Within a couple of hours our vines had gone from looking lovely and green and healthy to this. Approximately 80% of Syrah vines were frosted. 60% of the Carignan.

Carignan before the frost

Carignan after the frost

Pretty depressing, I can tell you.

But nature is amazing. Within a month, the secondary buds had started to burst and now the vineyards are green and healthy with lots of leaves. The only problem is that often these secondary buds are not fruitful. In the Carignan, the bottom half of the vineyard, which was completely frosted, has no grapes. Lots of leaves but literally NO grapes. The top section of  the Carignan is, mercifully, a different story. There was much less damage and there are some promising bunches of grapes forming.

Carignan grapes – June

Syrah – grapes from primary and secondary buds on the same vine

The Syrah presents more of a challenge. More of the secondary buds are fruitful but they are approximately 5 weeks behind the fruit formed on the primary buds. And often on the same vine! The photo below illustrates this very clearly. The secondary fruit is only just flowering. This means that the harvest will have to be staggered as the grapes will have be ripe at different times. Selection will be key.

One thing is sure. 2017 will be a very small vintage.

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Posted by on 24 Mar 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Composting the vineyards


30 tonnes of organic compost was delivered at the beginning of this year. Working out how to distribute it onto the vineyards when we don’t own any equipment to do so took some working out, but we got there in the end.

So here is the organic compost, made of vegetable and plant matter.  It is well composted and smells wonderful – sort of mushroomy with  pine and forest floor.

We borrowed a tip up trailer that was narrow enough to fit between the vines in the Carignan vineyard and hired a bobcat to load it.

We composted every second row. Here is the trailer about to start to discharge its load in the Carignan vineyard.And here is the compost, evenly spread in the vineyard.

See ‘compost – the movie’ for more information on our facebook page!

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