Well there was rain, more rain and then….more rain! After the wettest harvest period I’ve ever experienced we are all pleasantly surprised, indeed somewhat amazed, by the quality of the fruit we managed to haul in through the mud!
After a better than average growing season (no late frost, decent warmth), we only had a handful of dry days once the weather turned on 22nd September. However, we did largely manage to pick in dry weather and our freely-draining sandstone soils did us proud by shedding water fast and restricting the amount of water uptake by the grapes. This is the issue with such persistent wet weather close to harvest. In wet soils the vines takes up too much water, the berries swell diluting the sugars and in extreme cases can split providing a weak point for the ingress of fungal pathogens. Rot spreads fast.
However, even our Chardonnay which we pick last as it takes the longest to ripen, withstood the onslaught impressively well developing good levels of sugar and most importantly aromas.
Our first ever ‘Volunteer Picking Day’ (in dry, even sunny weather) on Saturday 19th October proved very popular and was booked out quickly. We had a lovely team of people turn up to pick grapes and enjoy a ploughman’s lunch and a glass or two of wine next to the vineyard. We will definitely repeat more of these next year, so do sign up to our Mailing List or follow us on social media to be the first to hear about it.
The wines in tank are shaping up well, now all through fermentation it’s going much quieter in the vineyard and the winery allowing us to catch up with the many other jobs again! Like getting ready for Christmas!
One last thought as I write this….global warming, we need to be concerned. The last 3 years in the vineyard we’ve seen the worst frost (2017), the warmest season (2018) and the wettest harvest (2019) – what happened to average?!