A winter drought
The autumn months of 2011 (Sep-Nov) was one of the hottest on record. The winter months (Dec 2011-Feb 2012) have seen extended periods of sub-zero frosty mornings (as low as -4.5°) and sunny warm afternoons (+22º). The month of February with ‘0’ rainfall, was the driest February on record (81 years).
On the heels of 2 extremely wet winters, we are fast loosing hope of getting any rain this winter. For the past 60 days (since mid January) there hasn’t been a drop of rain, and no weather change in sight for the near-term. Famers are battling with a widespread lack of pastures for their cattle, as grassland and fodder crops have struggled to grow, hampered by relentless dryness and cold.
In the vineyards, the long winter work of pruning and tying up the canes, has come to an end. The vineyard workers start their morning shivering in the below zero chill, to be gradually warmed up by the warming afternoon sunshine. At least, the vineyard work is made easier by the lack of the usual winter mud clinging to rubber boots, as they slowly move through the vine rows.
On March 10th, bud break was spotted in the Alicante Bouschet– very much on schedule!