Our neighbour in the village,Patricia Atkinson,has retired from wine making. She was responsible for putting Bergerac wines more firmly on the map in the UK with her wines and books like The Ripening Sun. So we have just bought some of her wine vats for fermenting and storing wine. I am sure with such a good pedigree they will be a great addition to our chai.
After weeks of hot dry weather we are so happy to have had an afternoon giving us 13mm of lovely rain. Given the stage our grapes are at the reds especially will benefit. They were stressed by the prolonged dry spell - and so were we.also means less time spent having to water the veg garden and flower tubs.
The Semillon grapes have loved the weather this year. As well as using them in our Blanc Sec blended with Sauvignon we may take the chance to make some Demi-sec, a semi sweet wine beloved of many people who eat moules frites.
We are down to our last 20 bottles of the 2003 Saussignac which is the late harvest dessert wine or "liquoreaux". 2013 could be a great Saussignac year too.
For the first time ever Gageac et Rouillac had its fete in the grounds of its historic Chateau instead of in the grounds of the Marie. The extra shade of the trees was very welcome as we sold wine all day with horses and carriages, vintage cars and the many inhabitants,friends and tourists coming and going.
One of the big enemies of the vines is a small aphid which is golden and spreads a deadly virus which makes the vines give up and die. So the Government require everyone to do one spray against it in early August. So today is the day for us. But we are very conscious of all our very beneficial insects which can be found in large numbers in our wildlife larder of half a hectare within the vines. Before spraying Humphrey cuts the grass strips in the vines to ensure all the other insects are away in our meadows and the sunflower area as they are looking for pollen.
Well last night we needed all the spells we could muster. The thunderstorms that swept in from Bordeaux left some vineyards with several centimetres of hail and quite some damage to their crop. Others got no rain at all. We felt lucky to have 2mm of gentle rain though 5mm would have been ideal.
Conveniently, if we wanted to do the Macbeth witch brew, if we just replaced the newt with a lizard we could find all the ingredients we needin our unused (by us) jacuzzi.The little green frogs are known here as "reinettes" or little queens.
It is hard to believe that in less than two months these little bunches of Merlot will be big, luscious purple grapes. Right now they are small pea size, hard and green. You can see the ground under them is stony limestone and thin soil. This makes the roots of the vines grow deep. With a temperature today of 37 in the shade we are glad they are going deep for moisture but also because the minerals that give the distinctive character to each "terroir" are well below the surface.
Sue Temperley writes the Wine and Wildlife blog.