Spring in Burgundy

The beginning of the year is a special time in Burgundy.  As the days grow longer, the vines start to come alive.  This year the temperature crawled up from zero and slowly the first signs of life appeared in the garden.  The vines start their year crying (1st April), in French we say, les vignes pleurent.  This is the sign that the ground is sufficiently warm and the water conserved in the root system is being pushed back up into the plant to nourish the buds that stayed tightly bundled up during the cold winter months.  During this period water drops like tears from the pruned shoots of the vines.  Shortly after the buds start to wake and swell (19th April), then they break (23rd April) and small green shoots begin to change the color of the country side.  Today (3rd June) we are starting to see the separating of the flower buds which is the final stage before the flowering (mid June?).


Spring in Burgundy this year has been plagued by rain.  In May we had just shy of 100 mm with only 5 clear days.  April was not very different.  In fact, there was so much rain the ground has been totally saturated for weeks.  Mix the saturated ground with the 10+ mm of rain we had on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of May and you get flooding.  Apparently, the last time this much water fell during Spring in Burgundy was in the early 1950s.


The result of this unusually cold and rainy weather is that the vines growth is delayed by a few weeks.  This is not much of an issue.  However, we will harvest later this year than usual.  Is it possible we will harvest in October?  The other problem with the rain is the increased threat of disease.  Mainly, mildew, however up to this point the cold weather has protected the vines and they are looking healthy.  Besides missing a few barbecues and picnics we are very happy that we made it through spring with no frosts!

All said, Burgundy is a magical place in spring.  Watching the vines come to life has been inspiring.