After the lazy Sunday there was a large gap without any news from Lisson. But that doesn’t mean, that I spend my time reading books in the shadow or bronzing at the nearby Mediterranean seaside (Narbonne Plage at only 60 km from here…).
No, it means rather that it has been a very busy month for me. With a lot of work going on in the vines – which always need cleaning, not to get overgrown by our wild herbs and to keep a salutary, easy drying “atmosphere” around the grapes.
This is Klaus’ work with the brush-cutter – as already shown in June in my article “Ty it up and keep it clean”. Normally there may also be some spraying necessary in the beginning or August (to do it later, would be harmful for the indigenous yeast on the grape skins).
But this year, after a short attack of oidium (powdery mildew – you remember?), we could put away the sprayer and it was not even necessary, to apply copper against mildew – as there wasn’t any (or at least only some small spots, which were quickly dried out by our tramontane winds). So you will have to wait for next year, if you want to see me reporting about my “man in blue” in the Lisson vines.
The good news is, that our grapes went on changing color during all the month, from green to a mixture of green, mauve, purple to nearly black – as we grow mainly red varieties:
You can see, that the branches too changed color, they have become ridged and more wood-like during the last 4 weeks and can now support the growing weight of those grapes. Even the stems are becoming less green, which is important, because we don’t destem after harvest, so if they stay too greenish, we would have a risk of “green” tastes in our wines.
We also had to work on our electric fences, as every year. One of the biggest problems of our vineyard in the middle of the woods is not linked to diseases or even – keep your fingers crossed – bad weather, but is linked to grape lovers, we didn’t count on when we cleaned the hillside to implant our vines: I’m talking about wild boars, badgers and all the other grape lovers on four legs…
Amy from La Gramire talked about them last week – and I wish her more luck than we had, in spite of our solidly fixed 5 fences with batteries and solar panels: when they really smell our fruit – and they know exactly, when it’s is about to contain enough sugar to be considered ripe enough, to give us good wine, they arrive from the woods all around and brave the fences (or dig underneath), and can make a tremendous damage in only one night:
they are inside...
Cot (Malbec) 08/21/09
So the bad news is: nearly one third of our harvest has already disappeared, gulped up by all those animals, who don’t have any serious enemy left – except the hunters, who killed already two of them in the middle of August besides our vines, but who are “overrun” by the enormas amount of wild boars around in our area, since they tried to augment their number about 20 years ago by setting free a cross-breed of domestic pigs and wild ones, which has invaded everything ever since – and as they can give birth to twice as much piglets and bring them up without any problem, as our mild winters and all the oak and chestnut woods, which are no longer cultivated, give them more than they need to eat… cultivating fruit, grapes or even a vegetable garden is about to become impossible in our area…
And it doesn’t help and console me, that some people take it as a proof, that organic farming is superior to conventional farming, as even boars prefer non chemically treated grapes – even it it was true (and so a very “natural” labeling) – it doesn’t give me back the result of a whole years work and it won’t fill my barrels and the bottles later…
So: Good luck to you, Amy, I will keep my fingers crossed for your Roussane!
And you may all do the same for our late riping grapes as Mourvedre, Cabernets and Petit Verdot, who are not yet sufficiently ripe to start “rescuing” them…