Life of the Vine

This category contains 31 posts

2016 Bordeaux looking good

The spring and early summer was cold and wet (filling the water table to the top!). The summer since mid July has been exceptionally hot and dry! The vines are parched that is for sure, particularly the younger ones whose roots don’t yet go down that deep. After a very wet Spring, (there has been no … Continue reading

How nature makes nutrients available to plants in healthy soil

The roots of your health: Elaine Ingham on the science of soil Elaine Ingham Plants use sunlight to make sugars; they then send most of these to their roots as exudates (substances that ooze out from plant tissue) – or, as Ingham puts it, they deliver ‘cakes and cookies’ to the soil for aerobic … Continue reading

The Soil is Sick – bring it back to life

Wood eating fungal diseases and nematodes (microscopic worms) have existed in the soil of vineyards since the beginning of the vine, 1000s of years ago. In the past they lived off dead wood, today they are gaining ground and vines all over France are literally  ‘being eaten alive’ and dieing. At first they become weaker … Continue reading

6 weeks of Sunshine in Bordeaux raises hopes for 2014

The sun is still shining in Bordeaux with temperatures still at 30°C during the heat of the day though nights are now colder (around 12). The past six weeks of sunshine have saved the vintage. Despite the odd storm (with St Emilion particularly receiving very heavy rainfall over two days around 12th September) it looks … Continue reading

Hopes for Bordeaux 2014 rise with continual sunny weather but storms and hail risk all

As we finish the third week of hot sunshine with daily temperatures of 30°C, electrical storms and heavy rain have arrived in the Bordeaux wine region with some hail  in lower St Emilion. Ideally the grapes would have a week or two more sunshine. The very sunny weather since the beginning of September has driven … Continue reading

Bordeaux 2014: the sun has finally arrived, some catch-up to do

The vineyards are once again busy with workers removing leaves and excess bunches of grapes (or part bunches). Now the school and work ‘rentrée’ is in sight (next week) an anticyclone has finally arrived. The long-awaited sunshine is here and predicted to stay until 10th September now at least. But there is a lot of catching up … Continue reading

Bordeaux 2014; grapes ripening slowly in cool summer sun

Apparently August ‘makes the wine’. So far it has been very changeable, wet and not much sun. Its around 24°C during the day, not the usual heat of the August sun, and the nights and mornings are cold around 10c (more like the autumn). Despite the unfavorable conditions the bunches of grapes are turning red … Continue reading

Harvest Bordeaux 2014 set for end September

If all stays the same (ceteris paribus). The flowering went well (it stayed dry and so flowering took place over a short period of time). Ripening should take place over a short period too. Good for quality. There was some coulure on the Merlot due to the very cold nights experienced during the flowering (beginning of June). … Continue reading

Natural Defence at Château Climens using their own herbal medicine

Dynamic Climens uses organic herbal teas to control disease and help the vine find its own balance and self defence. Since 2010 Château Climens, Premier Grand Cru Classé Sauternes grows its Semillon grapes 100% biodynamically spearheaded by owner Bérénice Lurton  and Technical Director Frederic Nivelle. A more holistic approach to disease control rather than preventative. The most famous … Continue reading

Bordeaux 2014: Perfect Flowering season so far for most, top Medoc savaged by hail

For the past ten days or so the vineyards of Bordeaux have experienced perfect flowering conditions (opposite of 2013 when a torrential tropical downpour dashed all hopes for the vintage). Nights have been cold so there has been some coulure (with the baby grapes falling off, lessening yield but causing a very early green harvest). … Continue reading