Puimisson is on the plain north of Béziers. The foothills of the Montagne Noire lie a few kilometres further north towards St. Chinian so it was a surprise to me when we came across this bunch during the vendanges. Why?
As you may know if you read my harvest reports this year was problematic because of the summer heat but also a spell of bad weather during flowering and fruit set in Spring. This led to problems of coulure and millerandage. This means that the new berries either don’t develop at all or very little, bunches look very uneven.
In the photos above you see evidence of this. A bunch with gaps where grapes should be, some grapes which have not changed colour and matured.
The photo above shows the aftermath of a sorting table after destemming. You will see lots of green unformed berries, coulure.
Moths were also busy ravaging some of the grapes, laying their eggs in the bunch gaps, the larvae then eating into the grapes. The photos below show one of the moths and then you can see a grape in the centre of the bunch with a hole where the worm has buried through, the juice then spoiling the bunch as it falls over it. Incidentally the bunch with the moth shows damage to the bunch caused by the late June heatwave.
However, the headline bunch was something different. I had to ask. Was it birds which had eaten the grapes? Well, I was on the right track but actually it was the work of a wild boar. These animals cause real damage in some parts of the Languedoc eating large quantities of grapes, some vignerons use electric fencing to keep them out. But that is mainly in the hills and wooded areas. Here on the plain they are much rarer but they are still around, perhaps the dry weather brought some further down to seek food.