Hello everyone! In this article, I want to delve into a pivotal stage in viticulture: flowering, and analyze its implications for an organic wine estate like Château Paloumey.
Weather Conditions: A Harbinger of Harvest Quality
We were blessed with favorable weather conditions. Warm, dry, and slightly breezy weather is optimal during flowering, as it aids in effective pollination and fertilization of the flowers. These conditions are indicative of a potential uniform and high-quality harvest for the 2023 vintage. However, as any winemaker knows, weather patterns can be unpredictable, so cautious optimism is key!
The End of Flowering: A Defining Juncture
Flowering has come to an end late June, with the last flowers transitioning to small berries. This phase, known as fruit set in viticulture, is critical as it signals the beginning of the grape clusters’ development. The number of flowers that transition to berries will greatly affect the yield, making this a defining juncture in the growing season.
Challenges to Tackle: Thunderstorms and Downy Mildew
Viticulture is fraught with challenges. The thunderstorms of June, particularly in the south of France, were intense. The damp conditions fostered the development of spots on the vine leaves, indicative of downy mildew, a fungal disease that can severely affect the vines.
Combating Downy Mildew in Organic Viticulture
In organic viticulture, the options for combating downy mildew are restricted. Bordeaux mixture, composed of copper sulfate and lime, is one of the mainstays. It’s vital to have an integrated approach, involving vigilant monitoring and timely interventions. My team and I are always on the field, assessing the state of our vines, and calibrating our interventions.
The conclusion of flowering is a watershed moment in the viticulture calendar as the vines enter the berry growth phase, which is a direct precursor to the eventual harvest. With challenges like downy mildew, vigilant and informed vineyard management is paramount. I invite you to join me as we chronicle the progression of our vines at Château Paloumey through the growing season. See you soon!