A quick catch up now on how my vines are doing in the summer month of August.
There has been continued good weather throughout the month with just enough rain here and there to keep the vines watered. The temperatures have peaked on a handful of days at 26-28 degrees Celsius (usually during the week when I have to be at work!), but are maintaining a good run in the early twenties.
There are two main points of interest since the last update. The first relates to the vigour of the vines which have basically (and would have done if they could’ve) gone through the roof. Due to a recent leg injury I wasn’t able to tend them as closely as I should have for several weeks and so it has been increasingly obvious.
When I was able to get back out I needed to seriously prune something like 50% off of the height, and I have even done one further pruning session since then to keep them tidy. All varieties are seeing this growth, even my Ortega, which last year was noticeably less vigorous than the Chardonnay and the MVN3.
This growth (especially when I was unable to tend them) has had one bad consequence. When twinned with the high winds that we have seen on several days, my trellising has become loosened and has pulled my vines forward by 2-3 inches. At only 3 years in the ground they are still fairly fragile and, fearing they could snap at the bases, I quickly corrected this.
When winter comes I shall have to look in to installing a new trellising system, more robust than before, that can take the weight of the vigour I am now used to seeing.
The second point of interest is the grape growth, which is coming along nicely, albeit still showing elements of uneven bunch growth (millerandage) on my MVN3. This is odd as this variety was planted a full year before the Chardonnay and Ortega vines and I would therefore have thought would be more established.
The Ortega and Chardonnay are coming along nicely with the later maturing Chardonnay progressing just behind the Ortega, but both have good volumes of healthy bunches. In terms of disease, the mites still seem to be attacking the extremities of the Ortega, but this was cleaned off during pruning so shouldn’t be a problem.
As August comes to an end we approach the final bank holiday weekend of the year. Traditionally these are wet and miserable affairs in the UK, but the forecasts currently show decent weather akin to that which we have seen recently. This is hopefully a good sign that we will have a settled and warm September, maturing the grapes in their final 8 weeks on the vine.