The more I learn about growing grapes the more I appreciate how much is actually in the hands of Fate.
The most experienced and diligent grape grower can be completely out manouverd by the weather and often there is very little that can be done to change the course of events. Sometimes the catastrophy unfolds in slow motion like damage done by a drought or the terrible silent spread of mould in muggy conditions. Other disasters can devastate a vineyard in a matter of minutes such as the 15 it took in 2013 to destroy a hectare of our syrah (potentially 5,500 bottles).
In late April this year many of France’s vineyards suffered from damaging frosts. Many appellations that are known to have frost risk were badly hit – Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire. Surprisingly the Languedoc and Bordeaux have also been badly affected. Bordeaux had the worst frosts for 25 years and up to 50% of the 2017 vintage are being forecast as a loss.
Gaillac hasn’t escaped and 30% of the vines are estimated to have been “touched”. Some of our neighbours have taken a massive hit. We’ve been very fortunate and are currently expecting only a 5-10% loss of planned yields. But its still very early in the 2017 season so who knows what Fate has in store for us before the harvest in September and October. Cross your fingers for us and farmers everywhere!
Margaret & Jack