Friday, 26 September 2014
So far this year we have been blessed with pretty good weather; certainly a lot better than the last few years. As a result, our grapes are ripening sooner than last year and we are now planning our harvest.
It looks like we will start picking week commencing 6th October and finish on Saturday 18th October, when we will get together with wine club members, family and friend to complete the harvest. The best laid plans are of course subject to the weather and dates may change!
If you would like to be involved in the harvest on the 18th October please register by emailing me at email@example.com. You must be prepared to be on the vineyard by 8.00am for a briefing; you can either stay until lunch at around 1.00pm or pick for the whole day. It's quite hard work but great fun and those involved will receive a free bottle of Silent Pool Rosé next year, and will also be invited to the harvest party in early November.
Hoping for a bit more sun in the next couple of weeks!
Sunday, 7 September 2014
During the last few weeks the grapes have started their ripening process, which in viticulture is called veraison. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes change colour from from green to red and the Seyval and Chardonnay turn more translucent.
Grape berries have two distinct growth phases. The initial phase is when the cells divide and expand and the grapes begin to swell and fill out the bunch. After veraison the acidity decreases due to degradation of malic acid, making tartaric acid the predominant acid. At the same time sugars (glucose and fractose) are accumulated and the volume of water entering the grapes decreases resulting in an increase in sugar concentration. The level of sugar accumulation in the berries is dependant on leaf photosynthesis which is why we are hoping for some more sun! This week we will also be trailing a product made from yeast derivatives which is designed to improve the phenolic maturity of the berries.
As the fruit ripens it becomes more attractive to the birds so we've put up our KiteHawks which will hopefully keep them at bay.
We now have our very own barn on the vineyard where we can store the tractor, it's various attachments and other equipment. It will also be a a base for vineyard tours and we hope to be able to open up a small retail area once we have a licence.
Of course we had to have a little celebration so we invited Wine Club members, family and friends to join on the vineyard to sample our Silent Pool Rosé 2013 (now sadly sold out!). About 100 supporters visited during the day and some had picnics on the vineyard. They were also treated to tours around the vineyard from Alex, and Ian, from the Surrey Distillery showed visitors their shiny new distillery next door at Sherbourne Farm
The harvest is getting nearer and we are hoping for some good weather in September to ripen the grapes. The likely harvest date for Wine Club members, family and friends is Saturday 18th October, although this could slip a week dependant on the weather.