Two weeks ago I went to Royal Ascot. Having never been before I was intrigued to see this famous English spectacle first hand. I have to say that it has to be the biggest, poshest, piss-up ever organised. Very few people seem to be remotely interested in the horses, the food is at best mediocre but the wine is fantastic and it flows more freely than I’ve ever seen anywhere else in the world!
By the first race at 2.30 everyone seemed intoxicated and money was gambled on every whim; the colour of the horse or tunic worn by the jockey, the name of the horse, rider or owner, and ‘form’ was largely ignored, or when followed made very little difference. My first bet was a on a horse called Limato, because a friend had overheard someone on the train saying that it was only horse to back that day as the stables had been holding it back in previous races! Well she finished middle of the chasing pack and the winner was the total outsider, Accidental Agent at 33/1. Clearly horse racing is not my thing.
However, the wine scene was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many magnums of Bollinger La Grande Année guzzled at any location, ever before. You can see why Bollinger and Veuve Clicquot guard this market so closely – they get through over 50,000 bottles in five days! In a recent report about Wimbledon Tennis Championships it’s claimed that Lanson sell 25,000 bottles over the fortnight. And that’s the reason for this blog, the fact is that here at Rathfinny we will probably never produce enough wine to compete with the big Champagne houses at such sporting events.
Over recent weeks we’ve had various comments about how our wine is just not available where people want to buy it. Sadly we only had 11,000 bottles to sell this year and we just can’t supply everyone who wanted it with the quantities they require. For that I’m very sorry, and it won’t get much easier next year or the year after. Wine is an agricultural product, there is always a finite amount produced every year and we simply don’t make enough. The big Champagne houses produce millions and millions of bottles of fizz a year; Moët produce 32 million bottles, Veuve 16m, Laurent Perrier 7.5m.
I’ve always said that when we have fully planted at Rathfinny, with approximately 350-400 acres (140-160 hectares) and those vines are fully mature in about ten years time, we could in a good year produce a million bottles which would put us on the same sort of scale as Krug or Gosset. It sounds an awful lot but it will always mean that we are a niche producer on a global scale.
So I apologise that we can’t sell our wine to you in larger quantities and urge you to be patient.
The good news is that the vineyard is looking fantastic. All this warm weather has brought us forward and we’re about two weeks ahead of normal. The dry weather has been perfect for flowering, which normally takes place during Wimbledon fortnight. So as long we have a normal warm English summer and dry, warm months in September and October, our harvest should be a week or so earlier than last year and it could be a good crop.
Thank you for your on-going support.
PS – If you haven’t tried the food in the Winery Tasting Room then make a reservation here, or drop in for some snacks.