Troika cancels Spring in Portugal
Spring was cancelled in Portugal this year, another austerity measure ordered by the Troika (European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF.) At least, that’s the excuse used for almost everything happening in Portugal these days, so why not the weather?
April and May have seen week after week of wet, grey, dreary weather, to the dismay of the Algarvian restaurant and hotel owners, which kept most potential beachgoers home during the recent Easter holiday break, but to the delight of the Alentejan grapegrowers and farmers, as we reveled in the lovely rain, which had been so utterly lacking during the previous, dry, winter months.
And now, just ‘presto’, the weather has changed from winter to summer! Forget spring, we are heading straight from cold and miserable, to ‘BANG!’ +30°C, overnight! The vines have been patiently waiting this moment. (Remember, in Alentejo ‘Patience is a virtue’). Budbreak was recorded on 10th March in our earliest variety Alicante Bouschet. But the newly emerging small flower clusters, have remained in ‘standby’ mode, awaiting the warmer weather they need to start flowering (average daily temperatures between 15-20 °C. ).
These clever little vines are self-pollinating, or hermaphroditic, with both male stamens and female ovaries. So they can do it all by themselves on the same vine, wind and insects only playing a small role! “At the beginning of the flowering process the only part that is visible is the fused cap of petals known as the calyptra. Shortly after the calyptra is shed, liberating the pollen from the anthers of the stamen.”
From today on, we can expect the vineyard to be a buzz with wild pollinating activity, resulting in baby grape berries! Get it on you sexy, voluptuous grape flowers!