The Graham’s Blog caught up recently with Miles Edlmann, our research viticulturist who is also responsible for the Quinta da Vila Velha, and Alexandre Mariz who is responsible for our vineyards at Quinta dos Malvedos and Quinta do Tua.
Overall, with warm and mostly good weather so far, the vines are racing ahead of the usual schedule for development, and growing so rapidly that tasks that usually are done sequentially are having to be done simultaneously to keep up with the vines. Instead of starting with despampa (the removal of surplus vine shoots) and then dealing with empara (training the shoots up through the trellis wires), our teams are having to disentangle rather rampant growth and do both at once.
In addition, our usual schedules for treatments for pests and disease are disrupted and changing to meet the state of growth – Miles is already treating for cicadela (Empoasca vitis, also called a leafhopper in English) which he normally would not do until July.
This doesn’t mean conditions have been entirely idyllic, however. Both Miles and Alexandre mentioned some small hailstorms, and Miles was woken by thunder and lightening at Vila Velha one night. You would be forgiven for thinking the adjacent photo is of a late August vineyard scorched by sun and drought. In fact that photo was taken last week when Miles found that the lightning struck in Vila Velha and the electrical charge running along the wire had scorched some of our vines, withering the leaves. Closer inspection shows the damage where the vines were in direct contact with the wires.
We have already had vingamento (fruit set) and Miles said it was generally fine but early rumours of large crops should be treated with extreme caution. There have been localised problems with mildio which will reduce crop size for those affected. As with so many things, “it ain’t over till it’s over” and we still have three months ahead of us before we can be certain what kind of harvest we will have. Stay tuned!