Rathfinny Wine Estate

Phenology, polyphenols and potties

Now if that title has not stirred your interest nothing will.

Has winter arrived? Are the birds singing? Can we see ‘mother’ nature stirring from her slumber in the vineyard and in our gardens?

Phenology is the study of the cyclical change in nature in relation to the climate and the seasons. We were glad to see the temperature finally dip in the vineyard just in order for the vines to realise that they can stay a sleep a little longer. While they sleep through the winter they can take pretty much any climatic variation the UK can throw at them. During their sleep we still tend to them, as they are the most important element on the Estate (apologies Sarah) and they all get a haircut to regulate growth and stimulate grape production – this haircut is referred to as pruning and is far better described in Cam’s previous blog.

So are things stirring in the vineyard? Yes indeedy. The skylarks have been singing for a few weeks now, and it’s only the male that sings, so he is either stating his territory or calling for a mate to share his territory with. When you walk our Rathfinny Trail this chorus of parachuting twitterings will accompany you for most of your travels.

Keep your eye out for floral shenanigans as well. Hawthorn bushes are already coming in to leaf, snowdrops are out and in the gardens your daffodils will have burst into life a week or so ago.

Please follow me on twitter (@rathfinnyrich) for up to date wildlife sightings on the Estate and other snippets of wisdom (only snippets mind you).

Polyphenols – now I dip into the world of wine and the natural occurring polyphenols found in grapes. Eating healthily is vitally important for us all and within the grape we have some quite amazing components which are then transferred into the glass. These include anthocyanins, flavanols, flavonols and resveratrol. These natural elements are the most important grape polyphenols because they possess many biological activities, such as antioxidant, cardioprotective, anticancer, anti-inflammation, antiaging and antimicrobial properties – now these aren’t words you tend to find on the back label of a bottle. Our Sussex sparkling has these elements bouncing around inside the glass and with far less sugar than Prosecco – I would propose it is a health drink. The other week I was fortunate to be present as we sampled our base wines (after first fermentation) and we discussed various elements such as ratio of still to sparkling, Rosé style, fining trails etc. I’m really excited to announce that this year we will be bottling %^$£$%^&**&%@~##??.

And now to the final word in my cryptic title. Some of the readers of this blog (I know you’re out there), may know that I am fortunate to be the proud ‘owner’ of a set of triplets. It has come to that point in life when one has to master the fine art of using a potty. I’ll leave you with the thought of multiple synchronized potty training.

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