We grow and produce some of the best grapes in the United Kingdom for Still and Sparkling wines, this is due to the River Crouch micro climate, reducing dramatically the incident of late spring frosts at bud burst, and generally the long sunny and warm autumns allowing the grapes longer to mature and reach their full potential.
After 2018’s perfect season, the 2019 season was set to have the potential to also be a good year. All best laid plans the weather decided to intervene, and delayed bud burst by a week, compared to 2018, and started a more normal year.
By late July the grapes appeared on the vines, and flowering followed soon afterwards with little incidence, the summer was reasonably good, with little or no disease pressure on the vines.
In early August we realised the grapes were going to yield well, which you would assume would a good thing but to ensure that the Pinot Noir were going to reach the correct ripeness we had to cut off the bunches that were going to take longer to mature, which dramatically reduced the yield.
By early September the Pinot Noir grapes were beginning to change colour from green to black, this attracted the starlings who sat along the overhead power wires in the Vineyard eyeing up the juicy black grapes, consequently we put up bird netting to keep them from eating the whole grape crop.The netting allowed the Pinot Noir grapes to mature without being attacked by the birds and also reduced the wasps damaging the Pinot Noir.
By mid October the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay where ready to harvest for our 2019 Sparkling wine, a week later we harvested for our still wines. In total we harvested 22 tonnes of grapes.
Now that the growing season has finished and as I look out of the wine barn, the leaves are beginning to drop to the ground, and the ones that remain are going a lovely golden colour, it is time to reflect.Potentially it could have been another excellent year, however with the wet and gloomy autumn the grapes did not reach their full potential in terms of quality for our red Pinot Noir wine; this year saw our highest yield as our vines mature this is what we would expect. We had anticipated making a single varietal Red Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this year like we did in 2018 along with our Sparkling wines & Althorne Reserve but the weather did not allow this and this is what makes growing grapes in Essex so interesting.
We look forward to another interesting year, and start of a new decade.