Hannibal’s Newsletter – April 2022



The months really are steaming along!  The change of hour to British Summer Time in late March is always so gratefully received, but it’s the extended light hours that really take effect in April.

And yet the weather is still doing the strangest things….


In late March, we saw un-seasonally high temperatures across Europe – time to finally take the thermals off, hooray!  Anyone with a garden or who walks a dog will have noticed the grass growing like billy-o and the daffs springing into action finally.  As for the vineyards, the ‘bud burst’ came early to many European countries – this is where grape vines spring out of dormancy and into their growing season.

Ten days on and Europe saw sub zero temperatures, well below the seasonal norm.  French vignerons were forced to take desperate action for a second year in a row to protect their vineyards from frost.  With bud burst already under way, the threat of frost damage is acute and with it the potential of a lost harvest.  The Alps saw massive snow dumps last week; Brittany was awash with rain – the climate is increasingly a nail-biting roller coaster for farmers.


Lighting fires in the vineyards is one way of keeping the frost at bay although this can cause unwelcome smoke pollution; other farmers spray water, thus protecting the vines from further drop of temperature; others use helicopters or windmills to increase the air circulation in the vineyard.  fires in vinesWhatever the method, it’s imperative to do something when frost appears.  It’s no wonder the price of wine is exploding!


The 2021 European rosé bottlings are complete and the wines are on the water.  We expect them to land any moment.  The fresh acidity and zip of the latest harvest literally kick-starts the tastebuds each spring and we can’t wait for you to try them.  Rosé wines will be less plentiful this year in terms of production because of the frost of 2020.  Nevertheless, there should be enough to quench most thirsts.

Easter wine suggestions

A delicious leg of lamb is a ‘must’ at Easter!  Having said that, many of us (this team included) are reducing our meat intake, favouring seasonal veg instead.  Whatever your culinary fancy, take a look at these great wines this month:  Ripasso from Casalforte, Cairanne from Georges Darriaud, Winery of Good Hope Pinot Noir and not forgetting Sembro from Ribera del Duero.

Hannibal is stepping out

It’s been a long, long time coming and we are delighted to look forward to our first major event since Spring 2019 – the Badminton Horse Trials.  Not into horses?  No matter, it’s a known fact that the majority of visitors attend Badminton each year purely for the incredible shopping opportunity.  Packed with small boutique companies selling exceptional quality, unique goods, it’s a great day out.  We’ll be there showing our wares and encourage you to think about attending.  Runs 4th to 8th May – a grand day out!

Please remember, don’t forget…

National Pigs-in-Blankets Day!  –  24th April

Freedom Day South Africa – 27th April

Happy Easter!

Hannibal Brown

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