Follow our Vineyard through the seasons with pictures captured by our resident photographer, Viv Blakey. These stunning images offer a unique insight into the important Vineyard work that takes place all year round to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Vines and fog

November

Post-harvest 2019, the vines are bare and the Vineyard team caught a break to catch up on much needed maintenance jobs.

December Vines

December

From December to March our vines are dormant. This is when we do our pruning which keeps the vines in shape and regulates the yield.

Vineyard Team Pruning

January

Pruning, pruning and more pruning! Throughout January and February, our resilient Vineyard team hand-prune every single vine back to just two canes which is called the Single Guyot system. We like to make the vines work hard and want shoots to grow vertically from the cane to produce the best fruits.

February Vines View of Seven Sisters 2020

February

If you visit our Vineyard, you’ll be spoilt for views. We love this shot of the February mist tumbling down the Cuckmere River and over the Seven Sisters. In February, we pruned the young vines that were planted last year.

Social Distanced Pruning

March

In an unprecedented turn of events, the whole of the UK went into the highest level of lockdown measures in March. However, our Vineyard team were still deemed essential workers so social distancing measures were put in place to complete the winter pruning season.

April Buds

April

As temperatures rise, new buds emerge, and shoots and leaves rapidly develop. After the spell of April showers, towards the middle of the month we were excited to see the first signs of bud burst. We thinned to avoid overcrowding and shifted the wires on the trellis for additional support.

Daisies

May

In May, the Vineyard really started to come alive with wildflower corridors and boarders springing up across the Estate. Thankfully, due to our location being 5 miles from the sea, we avoided the spring frosts. Inflorescences (flower clusters) also appeared on some of the flowers showing the vines were full of vitality during this important growth period.

Flowering

June

Vines, like all fruit, produce flowers and each tiny flower turns into a grape berry. As the vines flourished in the glorious Sussex Sunshine, our Vineyard team began shoot thinning and raising wires to keep the vines tamed when they began flowering.

Man Raising Wires

July

July was an exciting month as we began welcoming visitors back to our Estate as lockdown measures eased. Whilst guests enjoyed picnics with our Sussex Sparkling wine, our dedicated Vineyard crew removed leaves and ‘tucked in’ the stray canes within tightened wires. We also remove leaves to ensure crucial light and warmth reaches the flowers. Do you remember we mentioned we like the vines to work hard?

Veraison

August

After flowering we saw fruit set which led to ‘veraison’, a term of French origin, used to describe colour change in grape berries, from green to red. So begins the ripening process.

Misty Vines

September

Throughout September, our Vineyard Technician, Stan was busy measuring sugar and acidity levels as the grapes began ripening. Because of this phenological change, the fruits become rather appealing to birds so the team added nets to the bottom of the vines to stop them from devouring our tasty grapes.

Woman picking grapes

October

With our picking team from the local Sussex community proudly assembled, Harvest can begin on Monday 12th October. This year we’ll be carrying out strict social distancing measures and keeping groups in bubbles to work efficiently and safely.

You can also read our Vineyard Technician, Stan’s blog for an insight into our 2020 Harvest.