Sunday, 19 August 2012
Loire – sudden heatwave – good news for producers?
Today's France Météo forecast for Epeigné-les-Bois
Yesterday afternoon around 4pm we drove to Tours Airport. The external temperature hit 41˚C – reminiscent of the 2003 heatwave. However, the arrival of this August's heatwave has been much more sudden. Last Wednesday it was 23˚C, rising to 25˚C on Thursday before shooting up to around 35˚C on Friday – even at 7.30 pm it was still 34˚C. Then even hotter yesterday. Today the forecast is for around 37/38˚C. Is this good news for the vignerons?
Although after a miserable four months – April, May, June and July – some heat and sunshine will be welcome to ripen the grapes, the vines, like humans, need time to adjust and this heatwave may well be too sudden. Grapes, exposed to the sun, especially those facing the hot afternoon sun can easily be burnt and shrivelled by the heat. François Péquin of Domaine des Bessons, told me on Wednesday that the grapes' skins lacked elasticity this year and tended to split when it was hot. Furthermore high temperatures develops sugars but not flavour ripeness because the temperatures are too high. Also if it does not cool down at night acidities will be reduced.
So another scorcher today!