Along with most of the vineyards in the UK, this year’s harvest at Westwell has been a record one - we picked and processed over 50 tonnes of grapes from our 13 acres with sugars, acids and flavours reaching perfect levels. With such excellent fruit, we'll make still wines from our Burgundy clones - look out for a Pinot Noir red and rosé plus a still Chardonnay next summer.
Our worry earlier in the year was that there might be difficulty ripening the crop as there were two separate flowerings, resulting in bunches ripening at different times. The August rain exacerbated this concern, but in the end, we enjoyed a very long, slow ripening season that meant that the fruit developed excellently with deep, lasting flavours. It’s ended up being the largest crop that Westwell has ever produced.
A combination of late ripening at our site and a quest for richness and depth in the fruit means we tend to pick late. Most vineyards had already picked by the time we harvested which thankfully meant that we didn’t have problems with labour. We picked the pinot noir for our sparkling wines early in the month but left some on the vine until late October when we picked our special Burgundy clones for a still red.
Making tank space in an abundant year is like playing Tetris on a huge scale. The yield was hard to predict, but as the numbers started to come in, we realised it would be a challenge. In the end, we managed it though we were rushed off our feet bottling the 2017 vintage in order to create tank space just before harvest.
Probably the most memorable event during harvest was our family day – picking pinot meunier with friends and relatives and sharing our newly branded wines. We looked back at a year in which we have built a new winery, rebranded, and added an additional nine acres of planting to the estate.
We were joined by local photographer Ady Kerry who yet again captured the harvest magic.
It’s been another corker of a vintage for us at Westwell and we’re very excited about sharing the results with you soon.