Domaine Mirabeau in March

There has been plenty going on at the Domaine this month in the vines, the houses and the gardens, including pruning our olive trees.

The painstaking process of hand-pruning the vines is now complete. The first signs of the buds are beginning to show, but bud break will happen at the end of March, fingers crossed for good weather. It has been a very dry, mild month, with 150mm less rain January-March compared to that period last year. We are hoping that we don’t have any dramatic weather (heavy rainfall or heavy frost) in the coming months as this will lead to problems with the vines such as fungal diseases.

A few months ago we updated you on the grafting process we are embarking on our plot of cabernet sauvignot vines. We have now selected, cut and prepared the canes of rolle (vermentino), and they are being carefully refrigerated for two months, before they can be grafted onto the old cabernet sauvignon roots. Next step is to scrub the trunks of the cabernet sauvignon in preparation for the grafting.

Our viticulturalist Clément Prelat has been working with Stephen and Jeany on creating a roadmap for the Domaine to introduce regenerative viticultural practices over the coming years, to regenerate the soil, sequester carbon and restore biodiversity to the Domaine.

The renovations of the bathrooms in the Bastide are now finished, and we have begun building a new terrace for the Bastide pool, which extends the seating area, and we hope to have a stretch tent for shade. This gives lovely views out over the infinity pool, of the olive trees and onto the boulodrome and vines beyond.

This month we also had a tradesman visit the domaine to prune the olive trees. Farmers in Provence say that an olive tree has been pruned well when a swallow can fly through its branches unhindered. The pruning hadn’t been done for a couple of years before Stephen and Jeany bought the Domaine, so was somewhat overdue!

Last year unfortunately we weren’t able to harvest olives due to the trees not having been maintained and some of them were in very poor condition. Olive trees aren’t fragile but can be subject to several diseases caused by fungi and insects. The Provence fly makes a little hole in the fruit of the olive to lay her eggs, which then hatch and leave the olives relatively intact. Frosts can also be very harmful to olive trees, such as the late frosts we had at Domaine Mirabeau last spring.

There are 44 olive trees on Domaine Mirabeau, which could potentially bring a yield of 10-80kg olives per tree. Conservative estimates are we might get 40-45 litres of Domaine Mirabeau olive oil this year, all being well, but this is just a guess as we don’t have a baseline!

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