Thursday, 28 November 2013

Albury Wine Club membership for 2014 now open

Following the tremendous success of our new Albury Wine Club, which sold out soon after it's launch, we are pleased to be able to offer some additional memberships for 2014*.
The Albury Wine Club is for wine and food lovers who are interested in English wines, especially those produced by our vineyard!
The club provides an insight into UK viticulture, as well as the inside story on what’s going on at the vineyard. Members will have an early opportunity to buy the wine at discounted prices and be the first to receive invitations to wine and food events being held at the vineyard.
Membership for 2014 is priced at just £60 per person** and includes:
  • Two complimentary bottles of the award winning Silent Pool Rosé, as served on the Royal Barge as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
  • Priority allocation of our first Albury Estate bubbly, expected to be released for Christmas 2014.
  • 10% discount on all wines purchased direct from the vineyard. 
  • A free of charge members event at the vineyard and a first tasting of the years vintage, prior to its release in June.
  • The opportunity to get involved in the harvest in October/November.
  • An invitation to the harvest party in November (free for all those involved in the harvest). 
  • Regular email updates giving you the inside track on what's happening at the vineyard.

* The membership year runs from 1st May to 30th April (the vineyard year)
**A couple can join for £75 but will only receive one bottle of Silent Pool Rosé each.
Premier Cru Membership
This year we are introducing an exclusive Premier Cru Membership, priced at £480/year, for those of you who would like to get more involved with the vineyard. The following additional benefits are included:
  • The lease of 20 vines, with the option of looking after and harvesting them yourself (with our supervision).
  • A personalised tour of the vineyard, including a tasting of English wines, for up to 6 people.
  • 12 bottles of Silent Pool Rosé and 6 bottles of Albury Estate Sparkling, all signed by the winemaker.
  • A visit to the winery during the production process.
  • A complimentary invitation (for two people) to an exclusive wine and food tasting evening, hosted by a Master of Wine, featuring a range of English wines and delicious artisan food from local producers.
Membership is strictly limited. If you would like to join, please visit our website

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Biodynamics - My madness is contagious!

Stained glass window in Firle Church

For some, biodynamics is complete madness but I don't care. Just because many of the principles of biodynamics cannot be explained by science it doesn't mean that they are meaningless... and I'm in good company!

Last week Alex and I buried cow horns, filled with manure from a lactating cow, which over winter will harmonise with the sub-molecular energies of the vineyard. In the Spring we will dig these up and dynamise the contents in water, which will be sprayed on the vineyard to encourage growth and strengthen the vines against disease.

During the next few weeks we will add some herb based biodynamic preparations to our compost pile including Dandelion, Stinging Nettle, Chamomile, Horsetail, Valerian and Yarrow. In December we will start pruning, but not before we consult the Biodynamic calendar to make sure that the moon is in the right phase.

In the winery our biodynamic wine is fermenting happily with only the natural wild yeasts from the vineyard, giving it flavour characteristics with a sense of place or terroir. Even Ulrich, our Silent Pool Rosé winemaker, produced his own Pied de Cuve with our grapes! Benoît, a french student who has been working with us on the vineyard  says "my madness is contagious".

For me, I'm just happy to be in the company of great biodynamic vineyards including Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leflaive and Leroy in Burgundy, Maison Chapoutier in the Rhone, Coulee de Serrant in the Loire, Beaux Freres in Oregon, Reyneke in Stellenbosch, Hensche in Australia and Jean Pierre Fleurie in Champagne.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The 2013 harvest is a great success

With the help of family, friends and the Albury Wine Club, we completed this years harvest on Saturday. It was a great effort all round but particular thanks must go to Alex, JB, Peter and Benoît, who worked tirelessly throughout the harvest.

Overall this year's harvest was a great success, with a yield of nearly 25 tonnes of clean top quality fruit (compared to only 3 tonnes last year!).

As a result of the growing season being late, sugars were a bit low so we decided to leave any unripe grapes on the vines.  Quality sparkling wine is made from fairly acidic grape juice anyway, so we have every confidence that the Albury Estate sparkling 2013 will be a great bubbly. The flavour of the juice is excellent and full of phenolic ripeness. Sadly we will have to wait until 2016 to find out just how good it will be; once the wine is made it will be bottled early next year for secondary fermentation and left for at least two years to give it fizz and character.

We picked only the ripest bunches of pinots for our Silent Pool Rosé which should be released towards the end of May next year.

We will have a bit of a break during the rest of November but in December pruning starts for all 21,000 vines and the whole process will start again! Fortunately Alex loves pruning!