Friday, 19 October 2018

Autumn in the Vineyard

The red grape vines have turned a lovely orange hue, the whites are turning golden. We had a spell of awful weather, including Storm Callum which wasn't as bad as it could have been, followed by several days of glorious sunshine. The leaves have been blown off the trees or burned by wind beyond hope. But the grape leaves are surviving well. As are the donkeys. Sweet donkeys keeping watch. No one got blown away by the storms.

We are propagating roses to plant at the ends of the rows. Must have a proper vineyard. Have also been reading up on companion plantings, which makes so much sense. Plants to protect against insects and diseases, flowers to attract pollinators. The Gaia garden will form next spring. This winter, I will be pruning for the final shape as Alex build the support trellises, Galicia style. We have a busy season coming up.

In the meantime, we are planning a trip by canal barge to one of the French wine making regions. More on that later.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

What to do instead of harvesting

In place of a harvest in this unproductive year, I'll start a new workout routine...

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Gone grapes

One of two bunches harvested 

We had nasty weather this week. Wet and windy. The day before we had grapes. The day after we did not.

I had just noted that vintners in England were beginning to harvest and decided the day after the storm we would, too. It seems the birds were hungry during the bad weather and they partook of our grapes which happened to ripen at exactly the wrong time. There are literally about 5 grapes left. Everything else is denuded.

Lesson 1: use netting.
Lesson 2: harvest when you think the grapes are reaching ready
Lesson 3: buy a bottle of wine from Lidl.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

A fellow grapist

I received a lovely note from Trevor Sharot who has planted some grapevines and is growing grapes in London. For some reason, he is making the wine in Singapore. Can't wait to hear about that. A kindred spirit who has embarked on a similarly preposterous (or not) journey. His blog is all about wine. His decisions are based on careful scrutiny and thought, as well as travel schedules and the like. I feel from his writing about wines and the experiment that he is having great fun. And his first harvest. How interesting. 

He writes poetry about wine for the holidays.  He may be a winocerous, someone who delights in trying to recognise a wine just from its aroma. And he's been following this blog.

It's interesting to know that we are not alone in the universe. Somehow, humans come up with random ideas in unison. Here's to Trevor and his first two bottles of wine. I can't wait to hear what he thinks. 

New phobia discovered in our vineyard

Friday, 21 September 2018

Weather statistics for Clew Bay, Ireland vs Galicia, Spain

I found a great Norwegian website that provides weather forecasting and climate statistics for the world. I wanted to compare the climate of the albarino wine growing region of Galicia with the new wine growing region of Clew Bay. :-) I couldn't find Combados but Combarro gave me a set of statistics for average temperatures and rainfall over a twelve month period for Pontevedra. Similarly, when searching for Clew Bay, I got Belmullet data which is not really us but it was closer and more relevant than Claremorris. Claremorris does however come in a couple of degrees warmer than Belmullet, which is out on the Atlantic seaboard, and temperature wise is probably more like us here in Kilmeena. Our average temperature reaches only 15C while their's gets to 20C.

This year was an anomaly with the very warm weather in June and July in Ireland so our stats will soon change but our warmest on average only hits 18C while theirs hits 26C. I suppose I should have looked at this before planting grapes, but there you go. I'll be interested in seeing the stats for 2018 compared to these, as our summers get warmer and more unpredictable overall.

Clew Bay (Belmullet) vs Galicia (Combarro)

Average days with precipitation per month

Tabular view for temperature and precipitation per month
Tabular view for temperature and precipitation per month

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Storms in September

This week, we had the remnants of an Atlantic Hurricane, Helene, pass through followed closely by the first named storm of the season, Ali, and the threat of two more storms on the horizon. Helene fizzled. But Ali intensified. It was to abate by about 11 am but by 4 pm it was still raging. Status orange alert did not prepare anyone for the 80 mph winds with higher gusts. The Ploughing Championships were cancelled, as were many flights.

Our orchard suffered carnage. Our grapes swelled from all the rain and the white grapes turned brown and spotted indicating a fungal infection. Bugger.

Okay, so maybe growing grapes in Ireland with climate change won't work. Certainly the mild summer was helpful but the increase in the frequency of storms and their intensity could be our nemesis. Hmm. Might have to rethink this.

Does anyone have any good recipes for preserving pears?