|The Vineyard in the heart of the Surrey Hills|
It's been a very difficult year for viticulture in the UK. The weather was cold and wet in May and June, which led to poor fruit set in July. Since then the wet, but warmer, weather in July and August has resulted in Downey Mildew arriving on the vineyard, particularly in Block C, which is planted with Chardonnay.
Overall I estimate that we will pick around 6 tonnes of grapes this year compared to the 15 tonnes we might have hoped for. The big question now is will we get enough sun to ripen the grapes before harvest which is likely to be towards the end of October?
Good quality sparkling wine can be made from fairly acidic juice, which is why it is why sparkling wine is so successful in England. However still wines, including our Silent Pool Rosé, need riper fruit to produce a wine with good flavour that isn't too acid. The good news is that because we have less fruit we will need less sun to produce good quality juice.
To help with the ripening we have been busy plucking the leaves by hand from around the fruit on all 21,000 vines - next year were going to get a machine to automate the process!