The vineyard looks amazing and we are greatly relieved. To have a good grape harvest there are five plus things that all have to go right in a vineyard over the year. Two of them are good buds (from the previous year) and no late frost. We have great buds (2018 was an amazing year) and brilliantly no frost this year.
We started the year pruning. We left it as late as we could and started mid February. Pruning late is meant to delay bud burst – and with the frost of 2017 in mind we threw every frost protection strategy and tools at the vineyard this spring. For instance we also included a sacrificial cane when we pruned every vine. This is a cane that’s not tied down to the fruiting wire and as it is vertical the sap will have a harder job and the buds as a result will develop slower and maybe avoid the frost.
Having survived the frost, the year kicks off with a lot of work keeping the vines in order. The best quality grapes with the most flavour are essential for making our high quality organic wines. Everything we do in the vineyard is similar to natural, old fashioned farming. We fit a side cultivator and hoe on our small Fendt tractor to keep the strip under the vines free from weeds and grasses. Conventional vineyards will use weed killers for this which we as organic growers obviously can’t. We have been lucky to be gifted a very large quantity of turkey manure which we spread with a pile of farm yard manure we had been saving for a couple of years. It did smell a little, but to us it was lovely! Growing natural and organic grapes takes more care and more time but even here in rainy England it is possible. Obviously we don’t know exactly what the 2019 season will be like yet but so far, so good. We are crossing everything!
Not only is the new season kicking off, Spring is exciting because we are bringing out new vintages and new wines. We have re-introduced the hugely popular Pinot Noir still rosé and now hope to keep that in the portfolio ongoing. Last summer we made a small batch of non vintage sparkling rosé – Estate NV Rosé we called it. It went down so well which was exciting. Now we are releasing more and we have already seen good pick up from the trade and consumers. We have also made a white sparkling non vintage called Estate NV which we are releasing now too. And, we have moved on to the 2016 vintage with the Classic. This vintage is different to the 2015 vintage – clearly the same vineyard and approach but different and exciting.