Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

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

Grounded!

March 14th, 2017

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Blizzard!As I write today’s post we should really be at Madrid airport boarding a flight to New York – but we’re not. With an extensive tour of the U.S. planned for the next couple of weeks, the weather has now decided to intervene.

For the last few days I have been following the forecasts for all the States that we plan to visit – New York, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida, trying to anticipate what to throw into my suitcase. Until a day or so ago we understood that New York was going to be very cold, around freezing (with snow ‘flurries’), which is in stark contrast to the heat predicted for Florida. It was always going to be a difficult trip to plan for.

Last night, with cases packed and ready by the door, we received an e-mail from Iberia (Airlines), simply stating that our flight had been cancelled – Panic! The reason, we now discover, is that the snow flurry has evolved into a major winter storm, wreaking havoc across the whole of the north-eastern United States. With 1 to 2 feet of snow predicted in the next 24 hours a state of emergency has been declared in New York and three other States.

To cut a long story short, we are now re-booked to fly on Thursday morning, from London. We shall see….

Rain Man!

February 28th, 2017

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ChoivaThe last couple of times I have mentioned the Galician weather in recent weeks something strange has happened… Call it “Sod’s Law” or whatever you will, whenever I have mentioned how dry it has been in our area, it has almost immediately started raining! Of course this could be a very useful trick if it worked every time – for example, I constantly wrote how dry it had been last summer, but unfortunately to no avail. The other upside would be that I could control the elements from my computer keyboard rather than doing a silly rain dance in the middle of our vineyards. (Not a pleasant mental image).

The rain is forecast to be with us for the rest of the week, and so it will certainly put a bit of a ‘damper’ on all the local Carnival celebrations that we have scheduled over the coming days. For those who are celebrating I wish you a “Happy Fat Tuesday”!

(By the way, the message on the motorway gantry in today’s photo is written in Galician – but we get the gist)

Posted in Oddballs, Weather

Craggy Range, Hawke's BayHaving been in the wine business for so long, and having travelled so much, it’s inevitable that I have befriended one or two wine makers around the world. Happily, I am still in contact with quite a number of them. We don’t always chat about wine, but at this time of year my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, have only one thing on their minds – the 2017 harvest.

On the other side of the world (geographically opposed to our location here in North West Spain), is Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand. Christchurch has had a pretty tough time in recent years – a series of damaging earthquakes, followed this year by drought and forest fires. Very recently hundreds of residents around the city had to be evacuated, 11 homes were destroyed and one pilot was killed when his firefighting helicopter crashed whilst dropping water.

The relevance of this story is that the summer of 2017 in New Zealand has been warm, dry and windy, and they had been anticipating a very good harvest. In the last few days however, one or two areas have suffered some rainfall, but fingers crossed, this will not be enough to do any lasting damage to the fruit – only time will tell. (Don’t forget that this weather pattern very much mirrors our own experience here in 2016).

Meanwhile, out in our own vineyards, we have just about broken the back of this winter’s pruning. Until now, our  2017 weather has been mostly dry, and apart from one short, wet period during the first two weeks of February, the sun has continued to shine. Last week our daytime temperatures were pushing 20°C (68°F), which to be honest, although very pleasant, is really just a bit too warm for this time of year.

Weather addendum

February 3rd, 2017

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FloodedOnly one week ago I mentioned that the weather had been very dry, far too dry for this time of year. And yes, more or less the following day the inevitable happened – the heavens opened. Since then there have been a few days of light rain, but also a couple of days with significant downpours and the odd bit of thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure. Today strong winds have also joined the party!

Great for the vineyards, but maybe not so great for our guys working out there, pruning our pergolas with driving rain in their faces….

Posted in Vineyards, Weather