Thursday morning I took a dawn walk along the vineyard trail at Tenuta L’Impostino in southern Tuscany, part of the Montecucco appellation region. The noise of the frogs was almost deafening at times – two very healthy large ponds at the bottom of a steep slope provide them with a good home. The trail is a beautiful addition to an organic winery that has a restaurant and rooms for guests.
What struck me most, since I had just come from canton Vaud in Switzerland, was how far advanced the grapevines are in this part of Italy.
Several growers told me they are concerned – they are at least three weeks ahead of a normal summer, and this could mean a much earlier than usual harvest, perhaps even in August for some grapes. They blame a too-mild winter. If coupled with rain this summer, that could also mean the return of a type of fly that caused enormous damage to the olive trees. Farmers in Tuscany are therefore keeping a wary eye on the weather, since most wineries also grow olives.
The contrast, on my return was stark: Friday morning as I left Tuscany vineyard teams were out selecting the best shoots and training back the vines but when I took the train from Geneva to Morges the vineyards were barely showing their first leaves! This warm weekend will now start to speed up the process.