I often have to remind myself that we are just simple fruit farmers, albeit that we eventually transform our grapes into something far more interesting and enjoyable. As with any type of farming we find ourselves at the mercy of the weather gods, and in many ways it is they who will ultimately determine the quality of the resultant wine. Of course, this is quite simply down to the fact that real quality is dictated by development in the vineyard, and despite our best efforts, weather plays a major part in this equation. This year, once again, the gods are not being too kind to us….
We have often debated the effects of global warming, and how our climate will evolve over the coming decades, but as one who keeps a regular eye on the weather, I have to say that I am still none the wiser. In Galicia we have already experienced some unseasonably warm weather earlier in the year (the latter half of February and whole of March), but then the remainder of spring and early summer has reverted back to conditions more typical of this verdant part of Spain – largely cool and wet, with far too much humidity than we would like for a truly healthy growing season.
In the vineyard we have to take every available step that we can to prevent disease – thinning the canopy allowing moisture to escape (which also improves exposure), and as a last resort, we spray our vines with the most ecologically friendly treatments that we can find. The rest is down to nature.
Oops, I have just discovered a rather disturbing fact. Apparently the characteristic that is considered to define us Brits the most is……. our obsession with the weather!