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Harvest
Report 2021

In 25 years of growing grapes in this country, this year has been the most challenging. There were times when we doubted whether we would actually have any ripe fruit - and in fact, if we hadn’t had four weeks of sunshine in September, we would have been harvesting grapes with a potential alcohol of about 6 – 7%, so thank you September! To understand the reasons for the grape yields achieved in 2021, we have to look back at the very difficult growing conditions during the year. Unseasonably cold weather during April and May resulted in a delayed start to shoot growth in the vineyard of almost four weeks. Frost had been a constant threat during this period, though...

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Ripening in
the Vineyard

The speed of ripening is slow and languorous affair in England and in fact, it’s this long ripening that gives the fruit a longer time than in warmer climes to develop deep, complex and interesting flavours - one of the reasons that our sparkling wines are world class. Though slow, our ripening times are varied, but as a rule of thumb, from veraison (when fruit gets its colour) to harvest takes about four weeks. Ortega is the earliest ripening fruit generally followed by Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. We finish with Chardonnay around three weeks later. The spaced out ripening and harvest dates are great for us as they allow us some grace to pick everything at the right time...

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What is
Canopy Management?

Right now Marcus, Adam and Jeanette are busy with canopy management - tucking much of this beautiful unruly growth into the foliage wires to make sure everything’s in place for the current phase: flowering, fruit set and ripening. Marcus explains a little more about what canopy management is in his latest blog post.

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June: This Month
in the Vineyard

Our June focus is on the magic of compost and the important (and very satisfying) task of disbudding. We usually spread our recycled compost underneath the vines in the spring. Each vine gets approximately 25 kg around its base, which amounts to a layer about 10cm or 4 inches thick. The compost plays multiple roles - during the first year after spreading, there is a slow release of nutrients from the compost and a beneficial suppression of annual weed seed germination. In the second year, nitrogen take-up by the vines combined with increased soil micro bio activity gives a boost to vegetative growth and overall vine health. In the third year, what’s left of the compost on the surface will...

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