A Good Year?

The Summer weather has been good across southern France this year. The last time it was this good was back in 2005 which following a pleasant early autumn led to one of the best wine vintages ever. Many will wax lyrically about the extraordinaire '05, the once in a century vintage that saw shelves stripped of red Bordeaux as the world and 'their dog' clambered to get a piece of what is an impeccable wine. Is 2009 going the same way?

Spring was relatively dry. No deluges in May which can diminish yields as this is when the vines flower, unlike back in 2007 when the skies were forever opening. Of course the blame for then was put squarely at the feet of the little girl, La Niña.
No, no, Spring was warm and sunny and Summer has followed suit. If this good weather continues through September then it could all make for a happy vendange or harvest. Indeed, should things pan out favourably then the harvest will be put back. It's a moveable feast and if the weather's kind, then the grapes will be left on the vine longer to absorb the rays of the sun and be able to deliver wines packed with 'fruit'. It's all about timing.

I've noticed the vines here at Le Banquet yielding enormous bunches of grapes this year. I couldn't tell you what variety they are, they've been in the ground for some 150 years or so and serve only as decoration but fruit laden they are all the same.

Aside from the maybe or maybe nots of the pending vintage, around this time of year I find myself making a few changes around the garden. A bit of garden editing if you like. I'll swap this with that, that with this and inevitably make a purchase of some sort as a bit of retail therapy never goes amiss. This year is no exception and I present you below my new sunshine face thingymejig. Sunshine and vines make good friends.


  1. Love it, and I hope that it will be a great year for you, and the wine.


  2. Glad that you have had such a good spring/summer - it must bode well for the grape harvest Rob. On the subject of wine it struck me on our recent holiday in France that all the wines in supermarket shelves are of French origin - the rest of the world doesn't get a look in :) My few bunches of grapes are now on the turn from green to purple in the lottie greenhouse. Like your new sunshine plaque.

  3. Hi Rob, an idyllic description of the beautiful vines and their fruits. The photo ain't bad either. There are wild grapes here that have grown to the tops of fifty foot trees, heavy with small round grapes, Muscadines is what the locals call them. The birds adore them and like to plant little vines all over the landscape. It has been a good year for grapes here as well. :-)

  4. I love the mane of rays in your lion/sun tablet... such a cheery sunny face to go with your grapes. Great photos and love your descriptions of the seasons weather and possible outcome for the harvest. I love French wines so hope it is a good year!

  5. Hopefully 2009 will go the same way as 2005!

  6. Have you considered planting a mini-vineyard and making your own wine? I'm about 35 miles from the Napa Valley and popular hobby is buying a few rows of grapes in a communal vineyard and then making your own wine. Personally I'm not motivated enough for this, but it does seem like fun.

  7. Hi Rob,
    I love your new sunshine face thingimajig - where have you put him?

    I still think you ought to try pressing those grapes ....might be fun to see what you get! Hope the general grape harvest lives up to expectations ! :)


  8. Hi Jen, thanks.

    Dave some are sweet others bitter, grape roulette.

    Anna there's a definate protection thing going on. At best there's a small shelf area marked Vins etranger (foreign wine) and it's a bluddie fortune.

    Frances hi. Wild grapevine eh. Thanks for the photo comment, trust me that means something coming from you.

    Hi Carol and Sweetbay. Stay tuned as I reckon it's going to be a good vintage.

    Hi Susan. Making my own wine could be good. Mind you, such easy access could send me to re-hab or something.

    Liz how you doing. The face is on the side of the bread oven barn as you walk down into the courtyard.

  9. I am envious of your lovely large grapes mine are usually very small but the birds do somersults trying to eat them which is entertaining.
    Love your thingumyjig. Not heard that word for such a long time.
    I am still catching up on the garden and not been blogging recently I will be back.

  10. Sounds like the perfect year for grapes. It's pretty amazing that some of the vines have been around for that long.
    I love the new sun, it looks perfect with the vines around it.

  11. Sounds like a very good year!

    Love Mr. Sunshine. A happy face.


  12. Good grape weather is very agreeable with the palate and eyes. Who doesn't stop and admire a good cluster of grapes hanging on the vine? Who can resist plucking to see if it's sweet or sour.

    I like the thoughts of waxing lyrically. Love that sunny face in the ivy.

  13. I hope you have another great year for wine. Those grapes look delicious.

  14. Hi Rob, I'm fine thanks but been rained off from digging - again! :(
    Got to get the soil moved to get the tea house frame up tomorrow - yeah!

    The side of the bread oven barn is just the perfect setting for him - I approve :0

    Eat a grape or two for me if you're really not going to turn it into wine!

    Hope you're not too hot.

  15. I love the new sunshine thingymajig!

    Those grapes look luscious.

  16. cool sun thingee. always perfect weather for something, hope it continues for the grapes.


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