Enjoying a beautiful, warm sunny Sunday in St. Emilion. The tiny streets are crowded with tourists from everywhere making it more difficult than ever to find a parking place. And although the wine bars and restaurants are packed and the noise level is high, the surrounding cellars and vineyard areas are quiet.
No tractors are bumping along the numerous roads rushing from vineyard to cellar and spilling red juice along the roads as they were last week in the Languedoc region to the South.
In St. Emilion growers are playng that annual and risky waiting game as they hope for sustained warm, dry October weather to yield another miracle and make 2016 a surprising following act to 2015.
A noisy thunderstorm blew through here late last Friday dropping considerable rain for about 2 hours.
But Saturday was dry with slight breezes to dry things. Dark clouds were visible in the distance until the skies cleared in the early evening. The waiting game was on.
A few raindrops fell the week before. But this is France and nobody panics when rain arrives during the harvest season. Not here, at least. One grower suggested the vines would benefit from the rain so long as the thin-skinned Merlot grapes didn’t begin to split open from the added moisture. That would be a disaster because Merlot plays a starring role in St. Emilion wines.
But the red grapes are hanging, looking ripe and juicy to the untrained eye. The vines are still green, looking healthy. That’s an old Merlot vine carrying a small crop in our photo.
Merlot will be the first variety harvested. Possibly later in the week. Then the two Cabernets with Malbec and Petit Verdot coming in to end the harvest.
Meanwhile, the waiting continues.