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This blog site includes news on latest wines, food, events, offers and happenings at artisan & vine. It also includes stories of my wine adventures in and outside the bar, wine facts and wine profiles.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Wine facts: a Year in the Vineyard

How do you know if what you’re buying is a good or bad vintage? What does that even mean? It’s about what happens in the life of a vineyard in a given year. For example, in 2009, it was a relatively long, mild Summer, that means a long, healthy grape growing season, a good vintage!

Knowing what happens in a Year in the Vineyard helps us to understand what creates a good or bad vintage. Here’s the shortform:

Jan – Feb: the vine grower prunes vines to concentrate nutrients toward the grapes rather than leaf production

Mar: ploughing the soil to control weeds and improve soil health

Apr – Jul: more pruning, positioning vines on their trellises for optimum sun exposure, frost and pest mitigation efforts.

Aug – Sep: harvest! Deciding exactly when to pick is critical, too early will make too acidic wines, too late will make too sweet wines.

Oct: fermentation of grapes in the winery. Decisions about ageing and blending must be made.

Nov – Dec: tasting the young wine continues, ensuring whatever wine making path is chosen: oak ageing, early bottling, blending between grapes; is on track for a winning wine!

Image: superstar winemaker Henri Milan shows me around his delightfully colourful winery in early Sept 2009.

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