Sometimes a year will come along that is quite unlike any other. 2018 is one of those years.
Following last year’s fine weather at flowering the potential crop this year was always going to be good in terms of yield, little did we know we would have one of the warmest summers on record. What this meant for us, and the UK wine industry in general, is that we had a large crop that was able to ripen to ideal levels for our Sussex Sparkling wines. When I say a large crop this is relative, the UK has consistently low yields compared to other grape growing regions, which is due to weather events; late spring frost, poor flowering weather, and (generally) cool summers.
Luckily, we have had a great, long, warm and dry summer. We even had to water our young vines during one dry spell in July. And we had a great autumn – who’d have thought it would last? The harvest has come in heavier than expected, ripe, and we’ve been harvesting during fine weather. We couldn’t ask for anything better. Our team of local pickers have done a wonderful job, and many of them have shown interest in coming back for winter pruning, it’s all part of building up our local trained workforce.
After a ten day break, we’ve got a couple of short days left of harvesting – picking the balance of the Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, destined for still wine!