Well, the past week really has been something.
I arrived back from a week of Nuffield studies in Canada on Sunday to discover, not only the Vineyard bathed in heat and sunshine but, the first flowers starting to appear. What better time for a heat wave to hit the UK than right at the start of flowering. Normally flowering will drag out over at least a couple of weeks but hopefully not this year.
After unexpected delays, as our bottle supplier ran out of bottles, we’re finally getting ready to cold stabilize our wines prior to bottling in July. This year, we decided to ask a contractor from France to come with an electro-dialysis unit. We wanted to see how it works and familiarize ourselves with it before we actually purchase one, hopefully in early 2018, so we can treat the 2017 wines prior to bottling.
Its been a busy few weeks on the Estate (when is there a quiet time?!) with plenty of guests and the English wine has been flowing. Behind the scenes the vines and the wildlife on the Estate have been going through some changes. The opening image is of a dropwort flower which is showing well on the chalk grassland slopes of Cradle Valley at the moment.
As some of you may know Mark (and our son Archie) have been away fulfilling a life time dream of sailing across the Pacific. Whilst I did the first part, Colombia to Galapagos via the Panama Canal, I’ve missed out the big, scary middle bit of almost 3000 miles and am going to join them for the last bit. Someone has to be at work! It’s meant that I’ve been a ‘solo boss’ for the last 6 weeks and, don’t tell Mark, I’ve really enjoyed it. Also don’t tell him that on sunny days I drive around the Estate too fast with country music blaring!
May 27 – June 4
Whitsun brings English Wine Week. We have our regular Vineyard tours on the 26, 27 and 28 May. Additionally, if you are visiting the Gun Room on Saturday May 27th you will be able to purchase wine by the glass from noon. Look out for Plumpton Estate’s The Dene (sparkling) and our own Hobbs Hawth (still). Why not enjoy a glass in our courtyard café with complimentary nibbles?
Since starting as Brand Ambassador for Rathfinny 6 months ago, I’ve been involved in arranging some memorable visits to the Estate. From Sommeliers, Executive Chefs to Restaurant Managers, all have been so positive about what we’re doing, and can’t wait to get their hands on our Sparkling when it’s released!
2017 is not going so well for many producers. If you read Cameron’s last blog you‘ll have heard that severe frost affected many parts of France, such as the Languedoc, Bordeaux, Chablis, Jura and Champagne regions. Losses are up to 90% of the harvest to come, which is obviously heartbreaking. England was not spared and some producers suffered significant damage too. It reminded me of the role of reserve wines.
This week has been quite a week for the vineyard. The weather has been a bit of everything; we’ve had sun (always welcome in Spring) rain (which we needed after such a dry month) hail (which we can do without thanks) snow (not now thanks) and the worst of all frost (never welcome)
In the Vineyard budburst is well under way and the vine leaves are unfurling and elsewhere on the Estate wildlife is really awakening. The opening image is just a snapshot of a few bee species found on our Trail. The blossom is a great early source of nutrition for so many species and I would really encourage you to take a peek.
With the longer evenings and the hint of warmer weather it’s a reminder that the festival season is almost upon us. We are definitely not on the scale of some of the more established festivals, but even so we have the pleasure of co-sponsoring Alfest again this July along with The Star and Long Man Brewery.
It’s Friday 7th April and what a glorious day it is! The weather forecast indicates it’s going to be a great weekend which is perfect for us and our guests at the Flint Barns. We have a 50th birthday celebration here this weekend with the local band Kindred Spirt playing both nights along with a big BBQ on Saturday night. The Flint Barns are the ideal location for these kind of events – if you are interested then contact our events team on email@example.com for further details.
The quality of last year’s harvest was fantastic: A perfect balance of flavours, sugar levels and acidity. The wines were a bit “difficult” to work with, for example, the malolactic fermentation has taken longer than usual. However, at last it has now been completed through all the lots, and whilst we get the wines ready for bottling by fining and stabilising the wines, we have also started to work on the blends. It’s a very exciting moment in the year of a winemaker.
As the opening image illustrates, winter is slowly moving into spring. The vines have finished their work for the time being and now receive their annual hair cut and my Estate vehicle requires the adornment of the obligatory bobble hat.