Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

January Blues

January 15th, 2018

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It’s January, 2018, and there’s not much happening at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, we have sent out a few orders, and our guys are busy pruning in the vineyards, but other than that our days are short, dark, and now just a little bit damp too. The Christmas holiday rain has continued into the new year, and there have been a few thunderstorms. The weather has been changing quickly – one moment we have black skies, thunder, lightning and driving rain, but then, within an hour or two, the sky is almost completely clear and the sun is bursting through!

After a protracted holiday period (a common feature of the Spanish calendar) it can be difficult to regain momentum, but there is planning to be done, bottlings to be made, and of course, we mustn’t forget that our 2017 wines still need to be tasted regularly. Later in the spring we will decide the best moment for racking – removing the wine from the lees, and finally some of these tanks will be blended before they eventually become the finished article.

Within our D.O. the length of time that an albariño needs to remain on its lees before it can be called ‘Sobre Lias’ is just a little vague, although the very minimum is usually accepted to be around 3 months. Technically, this would mean that we could rack our tanks now if we wanted, but in the case of every sobre lias wine at Castro Martin, we always leave them resting for a minimum of 6-8 months, but depending on the vintage, some can be left up to a year!

 

Posted in Bodega, Weather

‘Hunch’ weather? Well, apparently this is a real word dating back to the 18th century. For example, when you have drizzle, rain or wind that makes you hunch up when you walk, then this can be described as hunch weather – at that is exactly what we have at the moment.

After months of dry weather (interspersed with just a few odd days of rain), we finally have a reasonably sustained period of wet weather. By coincidence, these recent periods of rain have coincided almost perfectly with the Spanish holidays! The holiday weekend of 8th/9th/10th December was wet and stormy, but then the sun and dry weather returned more or less until 25th December (and it has been raining ever since). Don’t get me wrong, Galicia is desperate for this rainfall, but clearly it would just be a bit fairer if it happened when we are all working… Of course these might be my ‘famous last words’ as it will probably now rain for the rest of 2018!

Posted in Weather

It’s that time of year again, as we now find ourselves busy preparing the usual last-minute gift pack orders, which, in the coming days will be distributed to different corners of Spain. Fortunately, we are in an industry where our product (apart from simply drinking), is also appreciated as a welcome gift at this time of year. (OK, I’m not going to mention that albariño works very well with turkey, because I’m sure that you find it boring that I write this every year).

“In other news” as they say, we have rain! No sooner had I written that we had no water and that our extended weekend might be sunny and dry, than everything changed. Certainly our last weekend was very wet, indeed it was stormy, with winds of 40 to 50kph driving the rain almost horizontally. With our winter days already at their shortest as we approach the solstice, it all added up to a very miserable time. Ironically, it was the first weekend of the official Christmas shopping period, when stores are allowed to open on Sunday (this part of Spain doesn’t normally allow Sunday opening), but I guess, in these treacherous conditions, people simply opted to stay at home with a warm cup of cocoa! 

Posted in Bodega, Fiestas, Weather

Mist & Mizzle

September 4th, 2017

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Well, it looks like our first day of harvest will be put on hold, as we are shrouded in mist and mizzle. Mizzle is a combination of very fine drenching drizzle or extremely fine rain and thick, heavy saturating mist or fog. It hangs in the air, rather than falling like real rain, and it’s especially annoying after a couple of days of warm sunshine. To be fair, the forecast (or at least one or two of them), said that it could happen, but they also predict that by tomorrow it will be gone. I will consult my weather stone tomorrow morning, and all being well, we will start.

Posted in Harvest, Weather

Heatwave?

August 5th, 2017

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For the last four or five days Lucifer has been sweeping across Europe (but don’t worry, I don’t mean that we have been overtaken by devil worship, it’s simply the nickname given to the recent spell of excessively hot weather). You may have read in the press or seen on TV that parts of Spain and Italy have been enduring temperatures of between 40 and 45°C (105-115°F). Severe weather warnings have been issued…. but not here in Galicia. The last couple of days here have been very, very grey and overcast (see photo) with long periods of drizzle, and temperatures of the low-to-mid 20’sC (70-75°F). This is not ideal weather for growing grapes, but at least the forecast is for improvement in the next day or so.

Just a quick anecdote on this subject if I may. The BBC was interviewing a British family on holiday in Cyprus, where the temperature had reached 43°C, and people had been advised to stay indoors during the afternoon. The interviewer asked what precautions the father had taken to protect his two young daughters, and I’m not sure if his response was typical British phlegm or just plain stupid – “we have put on sunscreen and are eating lots of ice cream.” In ‘Britspeak’ this means “I’ve paid for this sunshine, and by God, I’m going to enjoy it (whatever the possible consequences)!”

Posted in Pre-harvest, Weather

I should start by explaining that when we sell our wines within Spain then our sales tariff usually includes the cost of transport. However, for exporting goods to other countries then the story is the complete opposite – we never arrange transport for the orders of our export customers.

Unfortunately, this sometimes leaves us with a bit of a conundrum. When we are hit with a heatwave (as we have been for the last few days, with temperatures well into the 30’s C (90’s F)), then the question arises, who is responsible for making the decision whether to load the truck or not? Who will be liable if something goes wrong and the wine is damaged? The fact is that we have only a couple of long-haul customers who regularly take precautions when it comes to the temperature control of wine in transit, whereas the vast majority simply rely on normal road trailers or containers (and keep their fingers crossed!). However, if goods are crossing Europe on a two or three day odyssey when the temperatures are excessive, then this is clearly not the best way to keep our product fresh. (In our history there have been only a couple of occasions when pallets have been left exposed and corks have been pushed from the bottles – both beyond our control).

From our side the answer is simple – if we think that the weather’s too hot then we inform our customer, and allow them to take the decision – I think it’s called covering your ****!

(Today’s photo shows a container protected with a Vinliner – not the ultimate type of protection, which is full refrigeration, but certainly offering some degree of temperature control)

Tasting Florida styleFinally getting towards the end of our world tour of the USA (it just feels like a world tour after so many flights), it seems that, for once at least, we have just escaped some serious weather. Just before we left Tennessee there were already warnings of severe thunder storms, hail storms and even a 25% chance of tornadoes. Even thought there is something quite fascinating, even slightly hypnotic about tornadoes, I confess that I have no real desire to witness one first hand. Anyway, it is reported that since we left Tennessee, in areas around Nashville and Chattanooga, that some of these threatened storms have actually hit, with severe thunder and hail the size of baseballs! The good news for us therefore, that we now find ourselves cosseted in the warm comfort of the Sunshine State – Florida.

For selling albariño Florida is actually a little more complicated for us – although it is a wine perfectly suited to this climate, it appears that the Floridians are possibly not quite as receptive and will take a little more convincing. Our wine really is a ‘hand-sell’ here. The cities are spread out and quite diverse in their approach to buying wine, not to mention that there are already some other brands well established in the area. Maybe we will have to come back to this sunshine paradise on several more occasions, to see if we can get the job done! The upside is that at least one customer yesterday did describe our wine as “kick-ass”…. That’s a new descriptor to add to my tasting vocabulary – it speaks for itself and does not require any explanation!

Posted in Travel, Weather

Snow in Galicia!Yesterday was Memphis and today is Nashville, Tennessee on our continuing Grand Ole Tour of the USA – we really are in the heart of music country (or should that be country music)!

Over the last few days I have been talking a lot about the weather, and how changeable it has been in the some of the States that we have visited so far. Well, it appears that, not to be out-done, Galicia is now chipping in with it’s own bit of freak weather. After days of temperatures pushing the mid-20’s°C (70-80°F), Galicia has just been hit by hail, sleet and snow! Unfortunately I wasn’t at home to witness it myself, but I can say that in all my years in Galicia, I have never seen snow!

Who would want to be a weather forecaster these days?!

Freezer to oven!

March 22nd, 2017

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DenverOK, so I’m a bit obsessed about weather, but this is just plain wrong…. New York was too cold, and now Denver is too warm! After a couple of freezing days in New York we flew into warm, almost hot sunshine in Denver on the second leg of our US tour. Talking to the locals in Denver they would tell you that the temperature is probably as much 10-15°C (20-30°F) above the seasonal norm, albeit that this will certainly change in the coming days (snow is forecast, which is more customary at this time of year).

From the point of view of our wine, it was very interesting to discover that albariño is already quite well established as a grape variety in the Denver market. It can be found in the majority of wine (liquor) stores and also on many restaurant wine lists – the the local sommeliers all know it. F, the rom our own point of view the tastings that we made were all well received, almost without exception, and we are happy to say that we have found at least a few new Castro Martin ‘recruits’ in the Denver market. Of course any success does not come easily, and so we really need to acknowledge the help and support of our team ‘on the ground’ (our importer and their distributors) for their enthusiasm, professionalism and unerring belief in our wines.

Today’s photo was chosen quite simply to show the stark contrast in the weather (and also the fact that Angela looks a lot happier in the sunshine!)

Posted in Travel, Weather

Angela NYCIf you have been following our page you will know that our planned US tour got off to a rather shaky start – our Trans-Atlantic flight being cancelled the night before we were due to leave (thanks to winter storm ‘Stella’ blanketing New York in snow). We finally got off the ground on Wednesday night, for an overnight stay in Madrid before our re-routed journey through London and onward flight to New York. On Thursday morning we soon discovered that London was shrouded in fog, and that all flights going in were subject to delays, it really felt like the weather Gods were conspiring against us. Suffice to say that our leisurely connection was reduced to a quick sprint across the Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Luckily we just made it in time…. but unfortunately some of our luggage did not! Our last suitcase arrived several hours later and was delivered to our hotel room at 3am! Being disturbed at 3am and already suffering from a lack of sleep, it was just the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’ – the culmination of our on-off, nightmare journey.

Despite all the setbacks, our reduced time in New York (and New Jersey) was well spent, and we at least managed to achieve the most important goals of our foreshortened itinerary. Having said that, leaving the warm spring sunshine of Galicia (20+°C or 70°F) to arrive in the freezing temperatures and icy winds of New York, required quite an adjustment. As you can clearly see from today’s photo, standing on an icy street (in front of the Queensboro Bridge) was possibly not Angela’s idea of a fun time!

So, our next stop is the ‘Mile High’ City of Denver, to catch up with old (business) friends, where, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, temperatures are unseasonably warm at around 25/26°C (mid-70’s F). A dramatic change of wardrobe is required!

Posted in Travel, Weather