Monday, 7 July 2014

A great start to the year!

Flowering Chardonnay
Flowering and fruit set is now well underway on the vineyard and, whilst I don't want to temp fate, the potential for this year is looking very good.

The warm start to the year resulted in bud break about 4 weeks ahead of last year and the good weather since then means that flowering and fruit set are also well ahead. This is good news because it means that we stand a better chance of some sun and warmth when the grapes will be ripening in August and September. The warm summer last year (when this years florescence was formed) has also resulted in larger potential bunches. No doubt Alex will want to take off some fruit soon!

Thanks to Alex the vineyard is looking great, with all crown thinning and wire lifting completed and the grass mown. Spraying is all on schedule and soon we will be applying biodynamic preparation 501 (horn silica) to give the vines a bit more energy to help with their growth. Alex is also doing some shoot tipping to help with fruit set. Soon we will be leaf plucking to ensure that the newly formed bunches get the optimum level of sunlight.

There's still a long way to go and we will have to be very wary of mildews setting in if we get a wet spell. However there is already talk of producing a small amount of Pinot Noir red if the good weather continues!

Normally the harvest is around 120 days from flowering so pencil in mid October in your diaries.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Silent Pool Rosé wins The Derby

Guests and racegoers at the Investec Derby Festival, taking place on 6th &7th June, will be raising a glass of English wine as the racecourse serves a selection of locally sourced wines for the first time.

Epsom Racecourse is introducing four local still and sparkling wines produced by Albury Organic Vineyard and Litmus Wines who are based in Surrey, Hoffman & Rathbone in West Sussex and Gusbourne Estate in Kent/Sussex borders.

Guests in the Jockey Club Suite will be able to enjoy a sample of all four wines and the Silent Pool Rosé will be available to the public in Owners and Trainers, the Mezzanine Champagne Bar and the new Tree Bar in the Grandstand.

The wines to be served are:

Albury Organic Vineyard Silent Pool Rosé 2013
Litmus White Pinot 2011
Rathbone Rosé Réserve 2010
Gusborne Pinot Noir 2011

Simon Durrant, General Manager of Epsom Downs Racecourse said, “During the two day Investec Derby Festival we try and source as much produce from local farms and we are delighted to be working with local vineyards and wine producers for the first time and hope to extend our partnership with them to other hospitality outlets in 2015.”

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wine Club Fun at the Vineyard

Great fun at the vineyard on Saturday as we released our Silent Pool Rosé 2013 to our Wine Club members.

Nearly 100 wine lovers turned up to the event, when we tasted not only the new release of our still rosé but also some Albury Pinot Gris and a Pétillante Naturel from the Loire Valley. An alcoholic haze enveloped the vineyard!

Miraculously the sun shone for the whole of Alex's popular tour of the vineyard and the rain only arrived for a short period while we were devouring the BBQ expertly prepared by Walter, followed by Lucy's delicious salads & brownies and Linda's yummy lemon drizzle cake; all washed down with some more of our Silent Pool Rosé and local beers from the Tillinbourne Brewery.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and gave a huge thumbs up to our latest release. Happy days!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

16,000 Bottles of Albury Estate Bubbly!

Winemaker Matthieu with the first bottle of our biodynamic bubbly

It's been a crazy week, which started with the bottling of 16,000 bottles of Albury Estate sparkling wine from grapes we picked from last years harvest.  The wine will go through secondary fermentation during the next month or so to give it it's fizz, and then mature in the bottle for probably for at least two years to give it the special character of a quality English bubbly.

We are actually producing three different sparkling wines from last years vintage; a Classic Cuvée (produced from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier), an English Blanc de Blancs (made mainly from Chardonnay with some Seyval), and just 280 bottles of a biodynamic Chardonnay which was fermented with wild yeasts from the vineyard.

This week we've also been delivering our Silent Pool Rosé 2013 to stockists and restaurants so that they had it available for this weekend, the start of English Wine Week. Yesterday we had our annual Wine Club event and tomorrow we have an open day at the vineyard. Taking it easy in my retirement!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Press Release - Silent Pool Rosé 2013 Local Stockists and Restaurants

Silent Pool Rosé was one of only three English wines served on the Royal Barge as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and is currently being served at the Royal Opera House as well as many local restaurants.

The 2013 vintage will be released for sale on 24th May 2014, the beginning of English Wine Week, and will be available at the following stockists:

Caves de Pyrene, Guildford
*House of Wines
Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Hammer
Taurus Wines, Bramley
The Butchers Hall
The Godalming Food Company
The Guildford Wine Company
The Vineyard, Dorking
Village Greens Farm Shop, Ockley
*Vintage Roots

* Available on-line

It will also be available at the following local pubs and restaurants:

Bertram Bees, Westcott
Britten’s Restaurant, Guildford
Gomshall Mill, Gomshall
Kinghams Restaurant, Shere
Little Dudley House, Dorking
The Black Swan, Ockham
The Drummond Arms, Albury
The Percy Arms, Chilworth
The Red Lion, Shamley Green
Two to Four Restaurant, Dorking
William Bray, Shere
William IV, Little London
Silent Pool Rosé is certified Organic and is made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It is a refreshing still dry wine and is ideal as an accompaniment to light meals or al-fresco dining.

The vineyard is situated in the beautiful Surrey Hills near Guildford and is one of the few organic vineyards in England.

Nick Wenman, owner of Albury Vineyard said “We are delighted with Silent Pool Rosé 2013 which we believe is our best wine so far. We are planning to release our first quality sparkling wine later this year in time for Christmas”.


Albury Organic Vineyard - Nick Wenman, t: 07768 863650

Bottle shots of the wine and pictures of Albury Vineyard are available on request

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Silent Pool Rosé 2013 to be released on 24th May

Silent Pool Rosé 2013 will be released for sale on Saturday 24th May, the start of English Wine Week.

The wine was made from some of the ripest hand-picked Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes from last years harvest. Having recently tasted some barrel samples we are delighted with the wine and believe it is our best vintage yet.

Stephen Skelton MW comments:

"The wine is a pale salmon pink, with distinct Pinot raspberry and strawberry tones on the nose. On the palate the wine has a lively fruit character, with balanced acidity and a good fresh finish."

Silent Pool Rosé is certified organic with an alcohol level of 11%. Only 4,200 bottles have been produced, most of which have been pre-allocated. Details of stockists will be available on our website soon.

The first Albury Wine Club event (for members only) will be held on the vineyard on Saturday 24th May starting at 11.00 and will include a light lunch . The vineyard will be open to the public for the first time on Monday 26th May at a cost of £5 per person (including a tour of the vineyard and a tasting). Early booking is essential as numbers will be limited, so if you are interested please email for details.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Frosty Scare

We had a close call last night as temperatures on the vineyard fell to -1.7C, resulting in a light frost. We got a text from the weather station at around 5.00am, with a warning that the temperature had fallen below zero, but by the time we got there the sun was rising. Fortunately there shouldn't be too much damage as the vines are only at budburst or first leaf stage at the moment and are fairly resilient up to -1.9C.

The next few weeks are a crucial time for us. As a result of the warm start to the year, the vines are about one month ahead of where they were last year when there was snow on the ground in early April.

The boujies are still our main defence as they warm the vineyard by between 1.5C and 2C. However they are pretty messy and I'm not too happy abot the environmental impact even though we use them infrequently. Next year we will take a look at a new wind machine that Denbies are purchasing from New Zealand which reputably protects 10 acres of vines.

More frost risk tonight so I'll be avoiding too much wine and off to bed early!