Autumn is such a busy time in wine - the labour put into the vineyard all comes together at once and it's suddenly frantic with harvest. The weeks fly by as we monitor each vineyard for ripeness, arrange our pickers, transport grapes quickly to the winery and into tanks for fermentation before racking off into barrel or tank for maturation. It's all go!
And then, suddenly, it's done... the vineyards fall silent and all that can be heard is the buzzing of insects and the chirping of birds. Vines are full of colour and the landscape is so beautiful, it takes your breath away. It's a time to take a breath and reflect on the year that was. The vineyard cycle is so reassuring in a way ... the vines go dormant in winter, peep out buds in spring, bloom and ripen over summer and then burst into fruit in early August and then it all starts again. Of course the vagaries of the weather can have a major impact in any given year - 2021 was marked by Spring frosts, while 2022 suffered extreme heatwaves in June and July. It's certain that no two vintages are the same, but the circle of nature year on year in a vineyard inspires reflection and reminds us to be mindful of our good fortune to be custodians of this very special land.
The very hot months of June and July are becoming a pattern in the south of France, as climate change has an increasing impact on growers. For the first time ever, some areas of Bordeaux were permitted to irrigate by officials. We are fortunate, in that we've always had hot summers in the Languedoc - it enables us to adapt quickly to the higher temperatures. Our Albarino is planted in a unique micro-climate at Auzines, where there is cooling morning fog and consistent breezes from the mountains. Syrah and Grenache are well suited to heat and Laurent's foresight in planting from north to south rather than east to west - protecting the vines from the midday sun - and our sustainable approach to vine growing ensures our vines are strong and healthy.
Next is the winter sleep for the vines, while the team work to finish the wines of 2022. We'll also start to visit our export markets before Christmas and share the stories of the year that was! It's always fun for the team to get out and meet our clients and friends around the world.
See you next month,