I love this time of year. The vineyard is heading into what’s called Veraison, when the grapes start to ripen. The most visible sign of this stage is in our Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, both red grapes used in our sparkling wine, as they start to change colour. Also, as you may notice from the pictures below the bunches start to close up as the berries swell (bunch closure), and skins start to soften.
As Cameron pointed out in his recent blog we’ve been very lucky with the weather so far this year and the current warm spell is really helping to ripen the grapes. Even the Riesling is doing well this year!
We have been experimenting with the Riesling using cloches; thin plastic sheeting that just covers the fruiting zone of the vine.
This helps create a micro climate around the grapes and has so far promoted better ripening.
The bunches within the cloches are generally about two to three weeks ahead of those outside the cloches.
Counterintuitively the cloches, which hold in moisture and raise the temperature around the grapes, don’t seem to add to disease pressure.
The fruit is still clean and we have no sign of mildew or botrytis inside the cloches. So far so good.
However, the truth will be in the tasting and we will have to see whether the fruit produced is superior to that produced outside the cloches.
Elsewhere in the vineyard we are still busy leaf stripping both manually and by machine.
Even my youngest son Archie is helping out!
With his mothers hat on!! (Stolen!)
Great weather for it.
Leaf stripping opens up the vine canopy, letting the sunshine in and the moisture out, so reducing disease pressure.
So onward to harvest time. Which looks like it will be mid to late October.
We’re still recruiting for harvest, so if you fancy joining in please contact Cameron. https://rathfinnyestate.com/estate-news/join-us-for-harvest/
What about a working holiday? There’s still space in the Flint Barns – £22 a night gives you a hearty breakfast, packed lunch, delicious dinner and a comfortable bed and a chance to work and earn picking fruit in the beautiful South Downs.