We’re about to enter the most exciting time of year in any Vineyard, Harvest. It’s the culmination of a year’s work that starts over the winter months, when we individually prune each vine by hand, to regulate the yield and bring balance to the vine. Then the canopy management starts in late spring / early summer then after bud burst we’re shoot thinning and tucking in wayward canes. Next we’re stripping leaves around the fruit to let the sun nourish the grapes and fixing nets to protect the crop from birds. At the same time, we’re always watching the weather and hoping that we dodge the worst of it, the hail or summer storms, whilst enjoying the summer sunshine. It’s all about turning “sunshine into wine”.
In recent weeks we’ve been sampling the grapes, waiting patiently for them to reach their perfect level for picking and using in our Sussex Sparkling wines. Vineyard Technician, Stan, explains the technical side really well in his blog.
Staff have been recruited, the covers are off the presses, the tanks are all cleaned, the picking crates and bins have been dusted off and the trailers are hooked up to the tractors. We’re ready to go!
In this strange and at times depressing year, we can all look forward to what looks likely to be a very good harvest. Bunch sizes are slightly smaller this year, compared to 2018 and 19, so yields are lower, but with lower yields you get higher sugar levels and often more concentrated flavours which seems to be the case this year.
Congratulations to the Vineyard team for all your hard work this year, nurturing and tending to the vines. Now it’s over to the Winery team to work their magic to make to best wines we can from our 2020 Vintage.
If you’re interested in seeing what happens during harvest, we opened up the Flint Barns and have a few family-sized rooms available mid-week. You must also visit the Courtyard Restaurant and of course drop by to see Kristina and her team at the Cellar Door which has relocated to the Flint Barns during Harvest.
Mark and Sarah Driver