GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Geneva is the latest area to declare its grapes very healthy, as we head into the critical month of September. Cantonal authorities have been testing the wine grapes and checking their health in the past few days.
Guillaume Potterat, an oenologist with canton Geneva, told newspaper GHI that it’s too early to forecast what this year’s harvest will be like, but “despite a rainy July and a cool August, grapes throughout the canton are doing well.”
Too much or just the right amount of rain – matter of perspective
He echoes what I’ve been hearing from growers in Valais and Vaud. Dominique Rouvinez in Sierre, at Vins Rouvinez, told me that while a drier September is needed, he’s been happy with all the rain. Valais normally has one of the lowest levels of rainfall in the country and growers usually have to water in July.
Not this year. “It’s been great to go to sleep at night listening to the sound of rain and knowing I don’t have to get up to put the sprinklers on!” For Valais wineries like his, it also means a little money saved on water this year.
A grower in Vaud said he was worried about the size of the Chasselas grapes and their bunches, though – already large and needing several more days to ripen. “Those roots go deep and the plants will just continue to pull up water because the ground is still wet.”
Hikers beware – don’t go into the vineyards now!
Hike alongside the vineyards and you’ll see bunches of grapes lying on the ground, as growers try to keep the yield down for better quality.
A word of caution and a reminder: canton Geneva has now posted its signs saying that you can’t walk into the vineyards until the harvest is over, and cantonal guards from several offices are keeping an eye on the vines.
You risk a fine if you’re caught in a vineyard now. Other cantons tend to post notices less, but the general rule holds true everywhere: to protect the harvest, the public is not welcome in orchards and vineyards for the coming month or so.
The harvest watch is underway, with wineries keeping a wary eye on the sky. For now, cool August looks like it will turn into cool September, but with less rain.
Keep your fingers crossed for sunshine, slightly warmer temperatures and gentle drying breezes to keep those grapes healthy.
Healthy grapes, 19-25 August 2014: Neuchatel, Yvorne in Vaud, 2 areas in Sierre, Valais: