At the planting party the weekend before Easter, David Withers, who is a wine buyer and a resident of Alfriston and far more knowledgeable about wines than me, stood at the site of our new Winery and said that the land at Rathfinny “reminds me of Corton-Charlemagne.”
Now I have to admit that I have never been to Corton-Charlemagne. I have been to Beaune, which I thought was a charming town. However, Corton is to the north-east of Beaune. So I had to check it out in my Hugh Johnson World Atlas of Wine when I got home, and I now see what he means.
The Bois de Corton (the hill), has a forest on the top but the slope which faces south and southwest is very similar to the slope at Rathfinny and it is even planted out in a similar way. The Grand Cru Chardonnays are planted at the top on the slope and the Pinot Noir further down.
Bois de Corton
The name Charlemagne (Charles le Magne or Charles the Great) comes from the French emperor Charlemagne and Chardonnay was supposedly planted because his wife preferred him to drink white wine because red wines stained his beard.
Our rain dance worked and we got the required 10mm of rain we needed to bed the new vines in. Cameron and David are now busy putting up the trellising. More on that soon…
We are just starting to recover from a fabulous but ‘oh so busy’ planting week, which saw us all up at 4.30 am last Monday – yes, including the teenagers – waiting for the sun to rise in time to film BBC Breakfast. There was a sense of great expectation as we nursed hot cups of tea in the chilly, breaking dawn and then it was all hands on deck.
Volker and his family, ably assisted by Cameron and our newest member of the team, David, got to work planting the vines in even, GPS directed rows and Mark set to with the media. Nikki, Liz, Georgia (have I told you I had PA envy and have now got one of my own? – my long suffering friend, Georgia) and I made more cups of tea, ferried the press to and from Polegate station and around the farm and that was really how it was all week, with a few family ‘must-do’s’ thrown in like the obligatory holiday dentist trips and forced revision sessions.
It culminated on Saturday in the most fantastic way with close friends and local villagers joining us to plant their own individual vines and to share in a hog roast. The ‘close friends’ were roped in, along with all the kids and their respective partners, in making the day a great success. The video below says it all.
There are too many people to thank but (yet another old friend) Mary Jackson was our artist in residence that week, sketching and painting(http://www.newenglishartclub.co.uk/artists_pages/jackson_mary.asp?art=58) and Jenny of Complete Bliss (www.completebliss.net) (yes, you guessed it – another close friend) provided amazing food on the day, Liz (“run ragged”) who did a fantastic job all week keeping everyone fed and watered and Nikki, Cameron’s wife, who made teas and coffees whilst ferrying her kids to school and back, and was generally a rock all week – thank you one and all.
A selection of photos from Saturday.
PS… Please send any other photos of the planting party day to Liz firstname.lastname@example.org