With flowering complete, fruit set at Menade culminated in the best of conditions. This is of course also an important time for green harvesting and so the vineyard team have been busy methodically working their way through parcel by parcel in order to ultimately achieve our ideal yields of between 6 and 7,000 kilos per hectare.
In addition Marco also decided to embark on a programme of stimulating and encouraging the development of the roots of our vines rather than the vegetation; and this largely consists of the systematic application/injection of water based ozone.
This is a tried and tested treatment applied throughout our vineyards every 10 days and we find that, amongst its various merits, it can be most useful in warding off the threat of oidium. It was therefore particularly helpful this complicated Spring, as there were sporadic signs of this dreaded fungal spore throughout our region.
Meantime, in development terms, it looks as though this year our Sauvignon Blanc is rather behind our Verdeja, and Marco is guesstimating that we’ll probably start harvesting around the 15th or 20th of September; and in general, thus far, his general impression is that it’s going to be a large vintage – hence the importance of our green harvesting in order to achieve lesser yields and of course higher quality.
All this said, however, fingers crossed, it would not be unusual that we meantime be afflicted by summer storms or even hail.
As regards our Tempranillo vineyards in Toro, maturation there is significantly more advanced and we have followed the same vineyard practices as in Rueda. The rainfall there has so far proved much more copious, so our vines have enough water to withstand the rigours of the summer; and as the centenary vines are largely self-regulating we expect our usual yields of around 2000 kilos per hectare.
Fauna at Menade
Preserving the fauna that populate our vineyards is fundamental; and it it’s been heart-warming to see our ladybird population recently going into serious overdrive – with larvae everywhere. This reflects the fact that our vineyards are in super fine fettle as these marvellous residents are determined predators, avidly consuming the moths and aphids that if left to their own devices would be so detrimental to our vines.
Equally, the bird-houses that we had installed during the winter are beginning to fill up with negrillos (in English possibly blue black grassquits), who are most fond of eating (to us) other most undesirable insects.