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Nous nous souviendrons longtemps de la saison 2019…

It all started with a very late spring. The vines' bud break (when the buds open) occurred in mid-May, which is a good 3 weeks later than a normal year. May and June were relatively cold, the coldest spring we've had in 8 years.


In the vineyard, the two most important moments are spring and fall. We want it to start early and have warmth until the harvest. Starting the season with a 3-week delay is a serious handicap. We were then counting on a beautiful fall to catch up on maturity and compensate for the delay. Then July was exceptionally beautiful. We even recorded the hottest day in 8 years (according to my weather station) with a temperature of 36.6C on July 20, 2019!





But for the vine, that's not when the heat is most important. By definition, July is a hot month, and for the vine, whether it's hot or exceptionally hot, doesn't have much impact.


We then quickly returned to our mediocre weather conditions: August was very normal, and September and October were also disastrous, among the coldest in 8 years. That was when we needed warmth to make up for our spring delay. But we didn't get it... So we had to push the harvest to the maximum, using our wind machine for a total of 7 nights in September and October to avoid frost. We also had to do pre-harvest the week before the official harvest to remove all the less ripe bunches on the vines. It was quite a job! But the result was rather good: we harvested ripe grapes, and the wines in development are very good. What a relief!


But the story is not over! By finishing our harvest on October 20, we also accumulate a delay on the start of pruning and preparation work for winter. Once again, we were hoping for a beautiful November to complete everything on time for winter... It won't be like that, and the season continues to put us on the edge: the first 10 cm of snow on November 7, temperatures of -12 at night and -5 during the day (normal is 4 during the day!). The work is progressing well, but we can't do everything in 10 days!


And here we are now with 25 cm of snow yesterday! Historically, in southern Quebec, the first 15+ cm of snow occurs on December 17th! But what did we do to mother nature this year?

The geotextiles are, of course, not yet installed. We finished pruning the vines on Monday, but there are still many vines to cut to the ground and tie up before we can install the textiles. We are not expecting temperatures above zero before November 19th. We have time to prepare everything before the snow melts (an essential condition for the installation of geotextiles).


So we will (and we must) install the geotextiles from November 20th to 24th. We will probably modify a piece of equipment on the tractor to clear the snow on the edges of the vines to allow the snow to melt well as soon as the temperature is warmer and to thaw the soil to proceed with the installation. I am confident that we will get through this with not too much damage, but still, the season has been extremely difficult, constantly pushing us to our limits.


For those who see climate change through rose-colored glasses and predict that Quebec will be a vineyard Eldorado, I do not agree at all... The climate is much more complicated than the simple temperature read by your thermometer!

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