A night visit in the vines

With the vines well on their way as small bursts of green covering the countryside (Benji’s favourite time of the year in the vineyard), you can sense a momuntem of the busy days not too far around the corner.  Harvest!  Or ‘Les Vendanges’ as they say here.

vineyard 'burst' in the Minervois

We’ve had some beautiful sunny days, but also a lot of humidity with the ‘marin’ winds from the sea.  It has been very windy in the last few weeks – something that you get used to here (or not quite!).  The morning skies are grey and covered over, we’re hopping in the car for school with jumpers and wind jackets and by 3 in the afternoon the sun is out and sleeves are rolled up and the sunhats are back on!  The French have a saying here regarding the time of year:

“En avril, ne te decouvre pas d’un fil… en mai fais ce qu’il te plait” – it literally means that in April don’t wear fine threads but in May you can do as you please (there is a comment for everything here!).

Though we need the layers in the morning, harvest and summer seems on their way…

As the vines leaves begin to multiply, this combination of humidity and heat means they need some protection.  We’ve been spraying copper and powdered sulphur in the vineyards to help keep powdery mildew at bay.  We’re also raising the wires in the rows  to allow the plants to latch on and continue their growth up and along the trellising.

I was locking the kitchen door at around midnight last night when I heard the roar of a tractor heading to the vineyards just next to our house…   I opened the door and as I stepped onto our terrace I felt like I’d walked onto the set of Close Encounters!

Flashes of orange and white lit up the black sky as I started to recognise the form of the tractor.  It’s an impressive site, watching the headlights of the tractor searching down the rows leaving a wake of white mysterious cloud in the pitch dark of the night!  I was so excited I grabbed the camera.

night visit in the vines 1

night visit in the vines

It’s often the best time to treat the vineyards – in the middle of the night – as there’s little or no wind which allows the powder to rest directly on the plant.

So not an unidentified object afterall, but certainly more sightings to come.

night in the vines 4



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