We are right in the middle of one of the most important times of our year. One by one, starting with our Rondo variety, the vines are coming into flower and then, all being well, fruit set. The tiny delicate flowers of Vitis vinifera are hermaphroditic, they contain both male and female parts and self-pollinate. For the first time in several years the Cornish summer is doing what we and every holiday visitor to the area have been hoping for. Welcome Cloudless skies and warm sunshine with rising temperatures as we head through July, the flowering stage is a welcome change to previous recent years. The promise of prolonged good weather is making the possibility of Mother Nature swooping in and claiming a large proportion of our crop with adverse weather less and less likely. With each day of achieved sunshine, Mr C is smiling more and stressing a little less. The demands on last year’s 2012 award winning vintage has already seen half our store of wines depleted by sales and a good crop in 2013 is so very important to us. We still have sparkling coming through production and some fabulous scrumpy and ciders, as well as our unique Sparkling Avals and Peren but we really need more wine! Flowering weeks stretches over 3 weeks with all other varieties racing to catch up with the Rondo. At first the little clusters look themselves like tiny bunches of grapes but are in fact a cluster of caps protecting the flower. As flowering approaches the clusters open out like fingers on a hand stretching out then once the caps, known as the calyptra are shed the pollen is freed from the stamen and pollination begins. We expect a success rate of 30% and hope for more but if every flower turned into a berry grape this would bring its own problems with severe overcrowding. Each year we repeat our little mantra that its quality not quantity and this so far we have achieved superb quality with quantity never even being an option. This year there is more than an outside chance that we will see both award winning wine and we will make it to harvest with some reasonable volumes of grapes to pick. Whilst I am feeling quite optimistic, Mr C is practically sleeping amongst the vines in case Mother Nature throws an unexpected curve ball.