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Harvest 2018
Choosing a Time

In viticulture, we’re always dancing a complicated waltz with nature - and never more than at harvest. There is so much to consider when selecting the perfect days on which to harvest our crop. By any measure, this has been an exceptional growing year - fierce heat and sunlight from late spring which accelerated flowering, followed by a long period of lowered but constant heat which has been perfect for slow ripening. At Westwell, we grow four different varieties - all of which ripen at slightly different times. In the weeks leading up to harvest, we monitor each variety closely. We take fruit from different vines over the estate, crush, and measure sugar levels in the resulting juice. Our wish...

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Pruning in an
English Vineyard

Marcus Goodwin, Vineyard Manager at Westwell Traditionally, pruning in England starts at the beginning of January. This gives the vine enough time after harvest to fully ripen the canes for the following year's crop. It also allows for the transfer of carbohydrates (starch and sugars) back down from the old canes into the trunk and root system which is key to the health of the vine. Pruning earlier than January can also encourage early bud burst. This delicate first growth is very vulnerable to frost damage so it's key that we time the pruning carefully to protect our vines.At Westwell, we currently have just under 17,500 individual vines and we hand prune each one. For the experienced, it takes approximately...

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Harvest Report 2017: The
Full Story

Since planting in 2008, our yields and fruit quality have continued to rise, even with hares and pheasants enjoying the odd nibble! The trend continued in 2017 and we couldn’t have hoped for a better harvest. Many elements contribute to annual fruit quality and this year, thanks to dry and gentle conditions during budburst and flowering (the pollination of the flowers dictates amount of fruit) we had an excellent start. Good summer temperatures and strong sunshine contributed to help the grapes ripen beautifully, with high sugars and low acids meaning we needed to do very little in the winery other than let the grapes speak for themselves. Aided by ginger nuts and tea strong enough to stand a spoon in,...

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The Harvest Report: Ortega Captured on Film

We started our 2017 Ortega harvest on Tuesday 19th September.  As the sun gained height over the horizon, the picking team was already hard at work. Mist rolled off the edge of the North Downs and formed patches of low cloud, as dew still clung to the leaves. Photographer Ady Kerry joined us to capture the moment on film.

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Westwell Launches England's First Amphora Wine

  The Kent-based winery has made a very small batch of wine using the amphora, just 685 bottles, and using the Ortega variety, which is at the heart of its still wines.John Rowe, winemaker at the estate, commissioned the amphora from Artenova near Florence, a potter that has also made amphorae for numerous high profile wineries such as Champagne Jacques Selosse.As well as wanting to experiment with the fashionable winemaking vessel, Rowe explained that he was also inspired the strong use of amphora among Italian winemakers, which was all the more important to him because he grew up in Montalcino where his mother owned a vineyard. “After seeing and tasting amphorae-fermented wines in Italy, I wanted to see how making...

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