Rollercoaster 2012.. here comes the rain again

by Laura Gray on August 30, 2012

For all those following the dramatic twists and turns in harvest 2012, you will be relieved to learn that we have finally had some respite from the unrelenting heat that has characterised this August and July. If this is ringing any bells, please see here for differences between vintages 2012 and 2003.

Gorgeous Sangiovese roasting in the August sunOn Sunday 27th August a storm hit Montalcino with precipitation of some sort all over the slopes. We had tilled the soil in anticipation of the rain so that whatever came down from the sky could properly penetrate the parched earth. Do remember that irrigation is not permitted as part of the DOCG legislations so in Montalcino we are entirely reliant on naturally sourced water. The olive trees and vines had an almost instant reaction to the 38 mm of water that poured down here at Il Palazzone. Similar effects were noted in the human population. Temperatures up to this date had been consistently high but have now dropped from over 40°C to under 30°C (104°F / 86°F) which makes all the difference. We continue to have dramatic diurnal shifts between day and night temperatures – from 30 °C to 17°C (86°F to 62°F) – which is wonderful.

This Monday we started the diradamento in all of our vineyards. Our trusted team of Super Tuscans have been walking up and down each vine-row, making considered decisions about which bunches to chop off or to thin on every inverted L of the vine-stocks. Where the vines show “shoot vigor” (sprouts on the top level) they are giving a clear sign of being unaffected by stress idrico (water privation) and we allow those vines to bear an extra bunch. Where this is not the case the bunches are mercilessly culled in order to give the survivors a better chance. In other cases we need to trim bunches that are overlapping or nestling too closely together in order to eliminate conditions that would encourage mould when the rain comes. As always, less is more, and this is just part of a series of vineyard operations to reduce our yields and increase the quality of the fruit we leave on the vine and ultimately harvest.

We finished today, just in the nick of time, more rain is coming… take a look at the forecast!

Montalcino weather forecast - 30th August 2012

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