Médoc - News from the Vignobles Paeffgen
Here you find some actual information about our winery in Médoc
You are welcome to send remarks or questions.
(e-mail to: Vignobles Paeffgen)
Yesterday I was pleased to receive the first prize
for 'Équilibre Agro-Écologique' (Agro-Ecological Equilibrium) for our
In the summer I took part in this competition of the Parc Naturell du Médoc (PNR) with our summer meadows.
The botanist who was on the evaluation committee freaked out. It wasn't even the enormous number of orchids, but very rare clovers and actually inconspicuous herbs that
are also on the red list. (My cows also like to eat them...). Add to that the many marsh turtles, the entire landscape and our meadows were awarded the first prize.
I see this as a tribute to our natural farming methods and this wonderful landscape of the Médoc.
Picking season - Status 13. October
The harvest of the Merlots is almost finished. Because of the threat of botytis, some vineyards had to be harvested earlier then palnned.
The first two days of harvesting the quality was below expectations. What was harvested afterwards is surprisingly good. The vinification and extraction is going fast.
Since Friday of last week, we have interrupted the harvest because this wonderful autumn weather which allows the vineyards that have remained healthy so far to continue ripening optimally.
It is expected to continue tomorrow, at the latest the day after tomorrow - Friday. The quality development is promising.
In between, Alexander Oetker (writer) was here for a visit. He showed lively
interest in our vine culture and winemaking process.
A welcome change.
The summer of 2021 was very work intensive.
The weather conditions required constant readjustments. All cultivation measures had to be aligned very promptly with the development of the vine crop.
Sometimes the cultivation measures deviated far from the standard programme. For example, the foliage work could only be carried out selectively and
very gently because the vegetative plant apparatus had to fight very hard against downy mildew (Mildiou), powdery mildew (Oïdium) and black rot.
In a sense, these fungi took over the foliage work by decimating it. The regular rainfall made it difficult for the greenery to grow under the vines.
Finally, in the first week of August, the weather improved. Very quickly it became warm and with unusual easterly winds also really dry.
Our vines were unimpressed by this drought, as the soil structure during the wet period allowed excellent drainage, which is absolutely necessary for healthy root growth.
Grape colouring started at the beginning of August and was largely completed within two weeks. This reduced the fungal pressure enormously, as the coloured grapes are immune
to powdery mildew and the older leaves with their wax layer are also very protected. We had already reduced the plant protection measures in the course of July and switched
to very gentle agents. This may seem risky in view of the weather, but it is feasible if the vine culture remains stable and is well monitored. Only in this way can I guarantee
that our wines are free from residues of the plant protection measures.
The young leaves at the tips of the shoots are now defenceless against downy mildew (Mildiou) and affected accordingly. However, there are enough healthy leaves in the foliage front
for photosynthesis, which is needed for ripening in the coming weeks.
Grape ripening is proceeding very well with the summer weather. Now in September we had two weekends of rainfall of 20 mm each. This reduced the sugar concentrations, but the ripening
process with acid degradation and the build-up of tannins and anthocyanins is rather positively influenced by this. Only botrytis/grape rot is now a serious danger.
In the course of ripening, the grape skins become thin, which offers the fungus opportunities for attack in the presence of moisture, the current sugar levels and higher temperatures.
The very stable weather situation around the change of the moon (full moon on 21.09.) gives hope that favourable ripening weather will also prevail in the coming weeks.
The Merlot berries are very large. This suggests that the content of tannins and anthocyanins will not be so high in relation to the juice. The Cabernets look good. Given this situation,
we want to wait as long as possible with the harvest. Provided the grapes remain healthy. The Cabernets are not very far behind the Merlots in their ripening development.
The harvest will probably proceed without major interruptions.
Now we have to prepare everything optimally. We have finished the 'pre-harvest' of the unripe grapes / green harvest and the preparation of the vineyards.
The chai is clean and the harvesting machine is set up and checked. Every year, the days before the harvest begins are accompanied by a certain tension.
One or two colleagues have already started reading. It's like every year ... it takes nerves, a certain confidence in one's own risk assessment and luck.
Now it's all about quality potential versus quantity security.
Picking will start in a few days.
If April was cold and dry, May finished cold and wet.
Here in Bégadan we had 130 mm of rainfall and in the evenings the fireplace warmed up regularly.
There was no disease pressure. The cool weather slowed down the development of the spores of downy mildew (Mildiou) -
once again it went well. Here and there we find the first infections of black rot, so we will be careful.
The growth of the shoots is very heterogeneous. Every metre of distance from the Gironde counts.
With the influence of the cool weather, there are astonishing differences in relation to the distance to the Gironde.
I found the first flowers in the vine on 25 May - close to the Gironde, of course.
In the meantime, flowering is going well everywhere. The now warm weather should be perfect for good flowering. However, the phenomenon could also occur
that the plots that have not been able to develop well vegetatively so far are now making up for it. The push into vegetative growth may well compete
with the flowering and weaken it. So wait and see...
At first it looked like a drier period, but nothing came of it. Oppressive heat alternated with thunderstorms and heavy rain. The rainfall added up to more than 100 mm.
Fortunately, flowering did not suffer, but there was enormous fungal pressure. Weed control without herbicides also becomes a real challenge in such situations.
The vegetative growth of the vine is enormously fast in such situations.
Now it has hit us after all.
During the early morning of 03 May, frost damage occurred at Château LASSUS
on a smaller plot in Dignac. Fortunately, the damage is very limited. How
badly this parcel is damaged by the frost will be seen over the next few
The first week
of May finally brings some rain. The spores of downy mildew will soon
complete their development at the current temperatures and increasing soil
moisture and endanger the vines. We have already made very good progress
with the foliage work on the sensitive plots, which takes some of the
infection pressure out.
Austrieb Wein - Merlot
The vine is budding. The continuing cool
temperatures have delayed budding somewhat. In contrast to regions south and
east of Bordeaux and many other wine regions in Europe, we are spared damage
from late frosts at the beginning of April. This is due to the proximity to
the Gironde (0-2 km) as well as the Atlantic (20 km). Despite the strong
temperature fluctuations, budbreak is homorous and promising.
Due to the mild winter and the 'tolerable' plant protection measures of the
last few years, the slugs have developed into a real plague. The damage
these little animals can cause is enormous. If the freshly opened bud is
eaten, the plants for the first leaves and flowers are damaged. The budding
is crippled and there are hardly any/no grapes. The vine overcomes this and
can later build up foliage - there are hardly any grapes.
The dryness simplifies the weeding measures enormously. The vegetation is
not very strong and hardly competes with the vines. In addition, tillage
under the vines is very effective. Once the vegetation has been worked out,
it no longer grows in this drought and quickly dries up.
The same applies to plant protection
measures. There is hardly any fungal pressure. The spores of downy mildew
are slowed down in their ripening process in the soil during this drought
and are not infectious. At most, powdery mildew can attack the young shoots
of the vines. The sensitive plots only had to be treated once with sulphur.
Otherwise, plant protection measures were not an issue.
SpringA very wet and
mild winter is followed by a very dry and rather cool spring. The soils in our vineyards
became dry in the course of March. As a result, they warm up more quickly during the day
and promote early budbreak, despite critical night temperatures. The risk of damage from
late frosts is very high in such situations.
The vegetation starts at the beginning of March. The ash trees and the first
spring flowers are in bloom. The first orchids in our vineyards bloom just
in time for the beginning of spring around 20 March. The wine is now also in
the starting blocks. This is evident from the red colouring of the buds. As
it has remained dry, the soil warms up more quickly, but can also store less
heat overnight. Therefore, the danger of late frosts in the early morning
hours increases. We prune the endangered sites as late as possible, which
delays budbreak here by up to 10 days.
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