Vintage Report 2019: Spring

LEVIN Wines has had an exciting start to the vintage, after the emerging from the winter freeze. Warmer temperatures during early March saw the growing season begin two weeks earlier this year.

No herbicides are permitted in organic viticulture, so working the soil is essential to ensuring the ‘herbs’ do not get a head start. This increased the pressure to have the pruning completed on time, particularly with our newly planted and younger vineyards, which also require posts and wires as they grow up. Pulling out the canes and tying down, all by hand, is time consuming, with great care taken not to damage the precious, early budburst.

As always, our vineyard team rose to the occasion, impressively meeting the accelerated timeline. However, the weather had some more challenges in store for us. On the 3rd and 4th April we endured freezing temperatures of -3°C and -5°C; extremely perilous conditions for the newly formed buds! To protect them from frost, the team worked around the clock, laying hay at the base of the younger vines that are closer to the freezing ground. Our tireless efforts, and a fair bit of luck, helped minimise the frost damage.

The temperature again dropped to -3°C on the 11th April and with the buds more advanced, we made the decision to roll the ‘green organic herbs’ we plant between the vines to reduce further frost damage, whilst also ensuring all the canes were attached to the wires.

These literal highs and lows of the season have certainly kept us on our toes and remind us that nothing is guaranteed when dealing with the natural elements.

Thankfully May 11th is almost upon us – an auspicious date for French winemakers, when we can sigh with relief that danger from frost is behind us and look ahead to another great vintage. Let’s raise a glass to that!