Unstable weather forecast for next week. The Alicante Bouschet is just starting to flower (about ten days later than last year) and the other varieties should follow quite quickly. The poor outlook does not bode well. With all the water in the ground (and in some places on the ground) the vines are sprouting in all directions and putting their energy into foliage rather than fruit. This is looking like a repeat of 1998 when a similarly poor spring reduced yields by half!
My Vineyard Blog May 2008
It has rained on and off all week but fortunately it is still quite cold with a drying breeze blowing down from the serra so there are no signs of oidium. One benefit of the rain is the profusion of wild flowers growing in the vineyard. When the sun shines between showers the colours are spectacular.
I spend the day in back-to-back meetings, first with the accountants then at Quinta do Centro with a charming, petite chemical engineer called Cristina discussing the construction of our ETAR (Estacão de Tratamento das Aguas Residuais) or sewerage plant. The weather is cold and wet, the serra shrouded in cloud, and the meeting lasts all afternoon. By 4.30pm, with the discussion centering on the treatment of solidos (solid waste), I am cold and downcast. I am cheered by the suggestion that we put piranha fish in septic tank to deal with the solids!
It has rained here all week, more than making up for lack of rain over the winter. The barragem, which was half empty at the end of the winter, is now full to the brim. Fortunately it is also cold and so oidium and mildew are a threat rather than a problem. Nevertheless we have had to spray three times since March as a precaution.
London: the grand, verging on pompous setting of the Great Hall of the Institute of Civil Engineers for tasting organized by The Wine Society. Over 350 Wine Society members are here to taste wines from 26 producers including Tollot-Beaut (Burgundy), Rolly Gassmann (Alsace), Alfred Gratien (Champagne) Wirra Wirra (Australia), Chateau Musar (Lebanon), Catena (Argentina) and Sonho Lusitano (i.e. me) representing Portugal with Pedra Basta 2005. The wine shows well and I receive plenty of good feedback from members who have enjoyed it and return for a second tasting.
Pedra Basta 2006 is finally in bottle, labeled and ready to be shipped. We have orders waiting to be fulfilled both the UK and Portugal. The Wine Society in the UK have helpfully followed up their consignment of the 2005 with a substantial order for the 2006.