The weather has been dire over the past week with huge quantities of rain making vineyards practically inaccessible. This is worrying as the damp, humid conditions lead to mildew (downy and powdery) which requires treating on a regular basis, especially if you are working organically. Organic growers can only use copper and sulphur to treat in the vineyard and are applied as a contact spray that is washed off when it rains again.
We were at Chateau de Breuil in the Layon valley on Saturday where they had more than 100mm of rain last week. Local villages were flooded and the vineyards were extremely muddy. Bruno was explaining to us that local organic growers have been so worried about the inability to treat that they have discussed the option of joining together and treating using a helicopter. This would require permission from the prefecture and special authorisation would have to be granted for this to happen. Luckily at the end of last week they were able to get the tractors out into the vineyards but yesterday and today have seen huge amounts of rain that will render that impossible once again.
Reports today show roads collapsed in Vouvray (the second time this has happened in recent years), and widespread floods in the villages and vineyards. Here in Anjou we drove past vineyards literally drowning in the rain. After 2 catastrophic years of frost this is not great news for Loire growers. Not only will growers have problems with disease but further west where vineyards have been in full flower this week, fruit and set and volume will be compromised.