Rain, Rain, Rain

There will be no shortage of rain here this year. Heavy rain again this week, the barragem is brim-full and the rivers are torrents. With thunder growling nearby over the plains, I take an hour to walk round the vineyard in warm sunshine. Fortunately there is no sign of disease. The corner of the vineyard most susceptible to oidium has been sprayed and a cool, drying wind from off the serra is helping to ventilate the vine canopy. But we have standing water in lower lying parts of the vineyard, especially where there is soil compaction and poor drainage. However my policy of leaving grass cover between the vines seems to be working as it has dramatically reduced the amount of soil erosion on the steeper slopes. We just have to keep cutting to keep the grass and weeds under control. The main problem at the moment is the flowering. The Touriga Nacional is in mid-flower at the moment and if this cool, unstable weather continues, it could drastically reduce our yields. The short-term forecast is not that good with more heavy showers to come.