I won’t dwell on the issues of the current situation with regards to COVID or what has gone on over the past few months. Lets look ahead with positivity.

One positive element is I am now able to wear masks that match my shirts! I’m not adverse to wearing tasteful tailored shirts, loud socks and ties and now my required PPE can also be an ice breaker as I pour the wines.

My trade tastings with our new releases for shops and restaurants now involve more glassware and more distancing due to health and safety recommendations – thankfully the wines are absolutely singing so there’s less need for me to break into song! The crowd pleasing 2016 Classic Cuvée provides the beat, the 2017 sparkling Rosé Brut brings in the light melodies, the 2016 Blanc de Blancs hits the solo with distinct freshness and all this is supported by the baritone, smooth rounded notes of the 2016 Blanc de Noirs. What a Sussex choir. Me? I just pour and pretend to look pretty.

Looking pretty is something the Vineyard is definitely very good at. The regimentally straight lines of green, neatly trimmed and ‘tucked in’ vines contrast with the blue summer skies. Luckily visitors can now enjoy this beautiful time of year on the Vineyard as our Estate is now open for visitors to enjoy the Tasting Room, Flint Barns and Cellar Door.

Some of our natural residents and visitors have been thriving during lockdown. Guests enjoying a picnic adjacent to the Winery will often comment on the ‘helicoptering’ kestrels or the mournful mewing of the buzzards across the vines.

Buzzard floating over the Vineyard - prefer carrion to Tasting Room picnics
Corn Bunting
Like a squat singing soldier on our windbreaks - the corn bunting

For our guests down at the Flint Barns, a regular sound track is the skylark(s) and more often with your ears attuned, you will also hear the corn bunting singing from a tree top or windbreak hedge. A chunky little bird with a thick bill and jangly call.

Guests that are walking from the Flint Barns or enjoying the waymarked route through the Estate are able to enjoy a plethora of species that have blossomed during lockdown. The strips of wildflowers bordering our vines are fantastic for biological control aka integrated pest management or in plain English, the wildflowers attract creepy crawlies that will hunt the insects we do not wish to have on our vines.

Poppies 2015
Cradle Valley awash with poppies & you can hear the insects.

Some of the wildflowers are purely natural and have been dormant in the seed bank while others are sown as part of our drive to enhance biological diversity. However, not all species ‘sing’ and some are seen during the day and others only at night.

Beautiful ladybirds can be found all over our wild flower meadows.

Come and visit us and explore for yourselves or join our Newsletter for regular updates on what it happening on the Estate. Me? I’m segueing into the new normal with mask on, new vintages in hand and possibly eyeing up a new shirt!