vigne en fleurs

Summer officially begins on Sunday - and for us, back at our vineyard in France, it's an exciting time as we start our countdown to the harvest.

With a particularly warm spring this year, our vines have already undergone the important stages of pollination and fertilisation, flowering early and filling us with hope for a bumper crop of healthy, juicy grapes in readiness for our 2015 vintage.

As winemakers, it's always important for us to note when half of the flowers have opened, as we can then plan ahead the expected dates for harvesting, though with eight grape varieties to watch, it's never a straightforward calculation!

At the moment we are expecting to pick in early September, but the final date for harvesting will be decided only when our grapes are absolutely right.

Towards the end of August we will walk between the rows, picking berries at both sunrise and sunset. We will taste the grape in three stages - skin first checking the tannins for the reds; the pulp for its sweetness and juiciness; and then the seeds, to see whether they are unripe, chewy, green or crunchy, nutty and brown. The juice of these picked berries will be checked for acidity, sugar and their pH levels. We can then judge day by day what the alcohol content will be like; the more sun and sugar, the more alcohol and less acidity. It’s a fine balance and this will ultimately influence the wine style and body of our wines.

All winemakers are at the mercy of the weather but as organic producers, we don't use additives. So until September comes we'll be keeping a firm eye on the skies! But so far (fingers crossed) all's looking positive for a great 2015 vintage.