Monday, 11 July 2016

The Vineyard on the Wild Atlantic Way

I am reading an interesting book called Vineyard at the End of the World by Ian Mount. Although it's a bit too detailed in the minutia of history, I am learning a lot about how not to make wine.

What I am learning most of all are some of the mistakes and tricks that lead to a successful vintage. Like you need to have a dry spell at the end of the ripening period just before harvest to concentrate the flavours in the grapes. Dilution with water, which is what was happening in Argentina as the grapes were sold to vintners by weight so they watered them to increase yield, causes bad things to happen chemically. It is also important to reduce the yield by limiting the number of shoots and clusters so that all the effort goes into the remaining grapes. That's going to be a hard lesson to learn.

Sudden growth spurt

Our weather was warm and dry in May and early June, then shifted to wet and cool for late June, and is now wet and warm in early July. It's creating interesting growth patterns in our gardens.

Our strawberries stopped blooming and producing very early, our gooseberries were sparse and small compared with last year, the blueberries are doing much better than last year, and our fruit trees seem to be ready to produce, some for the first time. We have loads of raspberries, which we adore. Every year seems a bit different. I would hate to be a farmer in these times.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

From Ireland to NJ

Here we were visiting our old stomping grounds in southern New Jersey and were most pleased to learn that scores of vineyards had popped up all over the sandy reaches of the southern shore. We were staying at the Southern Mansion and decided to visit Cape May Vineyards. A relatively recent vineyard by French standards, it's a small place, impeccably detailed for tours.

The main building where the shop and tastings are done also has local products that complement wines, like bottle stoppers, glasses, Chesapeake Bay spiced peanuts, and lots of stuff with great quotes about wine.