It is the end of August and our adrenalin is rising. Step by step the grapes are inching towards maturity. Step by step we begin to analyze the data: sugar and acidity first and then with time the anthocyanins (the pigments which affect the colour and the structure of berries). Step by step we walk through the vineyards: worrying about a touch of mildew here, an insect’s footsteps there, a sign of drought further on; a sign of over abundant vegetation at the bottom of the slope. In fact, any sign that the vines are not flawless. It reminds me of looking at the ultrasound scans of babies; you see the form, feel its presence and hope for its promised perfection. We are like expectant parents.
Veraison (we have never found a word in English for the miraculous change of colour in the grape bunches) has passed under excellent conditions – hot sunny days and cool nights, the conditions that we love because the changes in temperature seem to polish the skins of the grapes and make the tannins contained inside those skins, shine. And we have had rain; blessed rain. Our soils opened up their pores, flung their furrows and ditches wide open and embraced the showers that have given the thirsty roots sustenance.
All we can do now is wait… All the efforts that we have made in the vineyards over the last nine months: pruning, suckering, ploughing, sowing, mowing, hedging, weeding, seeding, spraying, have come down to this. We pray that no freak storm or hail will ruin our path towards the arrival of our new vintage. Yes, the adrenalin is flowing.
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