October 30, 2014 Martine

At the end of September in California, I picked up the phone and started dialing our producers abroad to see what information I could gather on the progress of their 2014 harvests. Here is my report. With all the disturbing news of heavy rain and cool weather in Bordeaux, I was quite concerned about Chateau les Justices and Respide-Medeville. But according to Julie Gonet-Medeville, they harvested superb quality white grapes between September 10 and 17 this year. Picking of the reds started October 3 at Chateau des Eyrins and Respide-Medeville. It has been a long time since their harvest was in…

October 15, 2008 Martine

Every one talks about the year of the 13 moons greatly affecting the climate: too hot, too wet, too stormy, too cold. In fact, this is a year of uncontrollable weather affecting every region of France. I arrived in Burgundy on September 1st, having calculated the dates of my trip according to the date of blooming season. If you add 90 days, you get almost the correct date of harvest. Mildew affected vineyard in Vosne-Romanée Well, it was all wrong. The summer was wet and cold until September 8th. Every one was depressed. Some even had hale…

October 4, 2007 Martine

Dominique Cornin’s vineyard in Chaintré There is a saying in Burgundy “Septembre fait le vin,” September makes the wine. It applied in 1978 when the entire summer was overcast with cool temperatures, and by the end of August, the grapes looked like little green English peas.  This year, as the growers came back from their short vacation in anticipation of an early harvest, they were depressed, totally undone, almost desperate. The weather had been cool, grey, and rainy with a low of 10° C and a high of 15° C. Jean Thévenet…

October 1, 2005 Martine

In mid-June, I started to inquire about when to anticipate the next harvest.  June is the month of blooming grapes.  If temperatures are correct and there is no rain, flowering can last two weeks. However, if the temperature drops, or if it rains, then blooming will be interrupted, which will delay the maturity of the grapes, thus flowering will happen in two stages. Emmanuel Rouget, Henri Jayer’s nephew, reminded me of the white Lily prophecy.  It so happens that the Lily blooms about the same time as the vine. They are everywhere with their fragrant smell and beautiful tall flowers….

September 15, 2004 Martine

At the end of August, the outlook was grim. Following the flowering, the cool nights of June led to oidium (powdery mildew). July was wet. August was overcast and cool, which meant no luminosity—so necessary for the ripening of the grapes. Then, two major hail storms unfurled over Pommard and Volnay, all the way to Marsannay devastating vineyards and causing 10% to 80% damage to the vines. On the positive side, the wet winter that followed the severe draught of the Summer of 2003, revived the severely damaged but shallow-rooted younger vines. It seemed to be a promising normal crop…