Viticulture is a bit of a battle. I've just found out that the Douro has suffered from severe hailstorms, which can have a devastating effect. It's hard to say just how serious the damage is, but it's likely that some vineyards will have been pretty much wiped out for the 2006 vintage. I've only seen the effects of hail close up once, in Dezaley in Switzerland, where a July storm decimated the 2005 vintage in some vineyards (pictured are the vines in January, with the canes showing the after-effects).
I visited my tiny allotment vineyard on Saturday (left). It is going well at the moment. It's flowering time and we've had ideal conditions. The big worries where I am are the two mildews, downy and powdery. I sprayed with wettable sulfur for the second time this season. I'm going to need to do some weed control: it's beginning to look like a biodynamic vineyard. Looks like I may have some crop this year. I've no idea what I'll do with it. Maybe it's a chance to put some theory into practice.