The Waiting Game!
This time last year we had already hand-picked some Chardonnay for our Sainte Rose Sparkling and were about to start harvesting for still wine! In our 11 years at Sainte Rose, we have always started the harvest before the Beziers Feria, but this year is going to be the exception! As the 15 August public holiday approaches we are still waiting for the grapes to ripen.
In the vineyards as of Sunday the Chardonnay was only showing 8.5% potential alcohol and the Sauvignon Blanc was at 8.3%. The reason for the late start is obvious due to a cold winter, a very wet March and a very cool May and June. Maturity is accelerating as the temperatures soar, but we are currently running about two weeks later than usual.
As you would expect, we are watching the weather closely, especially given the crop decimation by hail in various other regions of France. There has been 20% damage to vineyards as close to us as Limoux and localised damage in some areas around Servian.
Meanwhile the winery is being prepared for action with a deep clean of all the equipment and finishing touches being put to all the improvements we have made this year. Maturity control will be carried out twice a week now to keep track of ripening rates in the early whites, so watch this space for news!