jamie goode's wine blog

Sunday, June 18, 2006

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.


At 6:01 PM, Blogger joaoRedrose said...


To fight mildew (the downy as powdery is in fact oidium) sulfur is not very effective. If you want to keep your vineyard sort of organic you should use copper.
As you know this is the classic combination (copper and sulfur) for attacking these funguses.

Your weeds maybe helping at this point. Flowering is a sensitive time for vines and the fact that they're competing with weeds reduces the vigor and the vegetative growth which helps the plant to focus its energy on flowering. The disadvantage is that weeds can create a too humid micro-atmosphere around the vines that is good for fungus.
After flowering you may want to do some weed control (cutting seems the obvious choice).

I imagine you're not growing Touriga Nacional :-), what have you planted?


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Joao, sorry for my imprecision. My problem has been with oidium, and sulfur seems to work - I have some bordeaux mixture, but haven't had to use it (when I did, it was before I had access to wettable sulfur and it didn't work).

Point taken about the weeds: I'll strim them. The in-row weeds (between the vines) are hard to eliminate without damaging the vines, so I'm thinking about mulching these or using glyphosate, which is staggeringly effective but not exactly organic.

No Touriga here, alas - Pinot Noir, Bacchus, Huxelrebe and Phoenix. I might go crazy and do extended maceration and natural fermentation on skins, making a very pale, pink wine...then bottle without sulfur dioxide and drink young. I'd like to get enough Pinot Noir to make a red wine.


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