Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Harvest Report 2017

Our harvest this year was completed almost two weeks early, with the last grapes picked on Friday 13th October.

The English weather has been even crazier than normal this season. We had a particularly warm start to the year, which resulted in early bud burst, but then had the worst April frosts we have experienced since planting the vineyard in 2009. Many of you will remember pictures of some 900 candles (boujies) on the vineyard, which we use to try and raise the temperature. Whilst these helped, and are normally effective against ground frosts, we also suffered an air frost which is very difficult to do anything about and many of the vines were damaged. Vineyards throughout the south of England were affected as well as vineyards across northern Europe as far south as Bordeaux.

The good news was that May, June and July were the warmest we have experienced, which resulted in excellent fruit-set. Many English vineyards suffered botrytis (rot) towards the end of the season but Alex and Dominic's excellent vineyard management (and of course our biodynamic approach!) meant that we suffered much less than most. Overall yields were about 40% down but the quality of the fruit was some of the best we have ever picked. Thanks to all the team and our many volunteers who helped make the harvest an overall success.

We are looking at some new technologies to fight the frost that we hope to be trialing next year. English wines generally are going from strength to strength and our wines continue to win international awards. All we need to do now is control the weather!

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