As farmers we are pretty pre-occupied with the weather. Is it too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry? We keep a pretty detailed weather diary and it can be interesting to look back and compare years. Usually in the summer we will get a long period of six weeks or so where the weather is settled, hot and dry, perhaps broken up by a big thunderstorm. The weather was typical of this pattern in 2015 where, apart from a little rain around the end of July the weather was hot and dry from mid-June through to the second week of August. The weather in 2014 did not at all follow this pattern. In 2014 we had a very warm dry spring, but in the summer we didn’t have more than six days without rain until mid-August when we were fortunate to have a long hot dry spell through to mid-September to ripen the grapes. This year has rather fallen between the two with good two or three week spells of hot dry weather broken up by occasional rainy days, but little in the way of big storms which have passed us by this year. This has stopped the vines getting too thirsty and fortunately the rain has always been followed by the mistral to dry everything out and keep the vines healthy. In fact it has been a remarkably windy summer with the mistral making regular appearances. The mistral while very welcome after rain does though tend to keep a lid on the temperatures which is one of the reasons why we are currently about two weeks behind last year in terms of ripeness and likely harvest date.
At the moment however the weather is hot and sunny, having been dry since our last rain on 4 August and the two week weather forecast shows the weather staying dry with temperatures in the high 20s or low 30s through to the end of the month. Let’s hope that they are right as this will be a super end to the summer, really allowing the grapes to ripen up nicely and probably allowing them to catch up some of the two weeks or so that we are currently behind last year in terms of ripeness. At the moment though it doesn’t look likely that harvest will start before the third week of September which means that we still have time to finish off our pre-harvest preparations in the winery!