Happy New Year!
I spent most of the festive period on the Estate. It was a quiet time for me and gave me time to reflect on what has been achieved in restoring the Flint Barns to what we have today. So much hard work, dedication and passion has been put in by so many people. It also gave me time to think about the exciting future ahead for us all here on the Estate.
The main news is that the Flint Barns website is about to go live! You will soon be able to see how gorgeous it is inside, get information on the accommodation available, at reasonable prices, read about our locally sourced, home made food and make a plan to come and visit this ‘home away from home.’ It’s ideally placed for those who want to visit the area and walk the South Downs. At the moment there’s contact information for bookings but you’ll be able to do it online from the end of January.
New Year is a time for reflection and New Year’s resolutions. Mine normally revolve around losing weight and getting fit, after a period of excess it makes sense to have a few days off alcohol and try and shed a few kilos. However, this year is slightly different.
2015 starts with us moving into production and sales mode. We have spent four years planting and building and now we leave that behind us, for now, and we can start building the market for our wines. That is partly why we are working to establish a PDO for Sussex Sparkling.
While we haven’t started pruning for real yet, we have done a little bit to get our eye in before we really get started after the holidays.
This is the first year we can truly feel like we are pruning for a real purpose. The vines are now getting bigger; they have grown more this past season than any other, and we are starting to refine our techniques and systems of pruning.
We ‘cane prune’ all the vines, because in our cooler climate the lower buds of the vine are less fruitful and will generally have less vigour than a lot of vineyard sites, partly due to our shallow soils.
When you prune, you have to keep in mind not just the season just gone, but what we want to see the coming season and following season after that.
Pruning is both complex and a simple process at the same time.