My previous growers blog left off with the expectation of a possible bad frost heading my way and, sure enough, the end of April saw low temperatures arrive in the UK. Like most French wine regions, the south of England saw much destruction with some producers having as much as 75% of their crop affected.
Although France suffered a slower, week-long grip of bad weather, the pain-point here was the night of the 27th/28th of April, and the specific hours of 3am to 5am. To try and curb any destruction of the early flowering I was one of those lighting small fires around my vines to bring the temperatures up even just one or two degrees.
Creating this small micro-climate could well have made the difference to this year’s yields, and thankfully (very much due to this precaution), my losses were only small. The leaves and buds that were destroyed were in between the various heat sources I had laid out and therefore at the mercy of the natural temperatures which dipped down to about -6°C.
Since then the weather has been fair with occasional rain and temperatures in the low teens, and all three of my varieties are now showing good signs of growth with clusters forming.
This week has seen me start adding some additional trellising to begin to control the vine growth which, as usual, is led by my Chardonnay vines.
Forecasted for the next two weeks ahead are some glorious clear and sunny skies with temperatures in the range of 20-26°C. Happily this means we are beyond the worst of the weather and can now look forward to a good growing season.