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Harvest Home!!

Harvest Home!!

 

Apologies for not writing much over the last few months but we’ve been incredibly busy in the vineyards. 

I think the problem came because we had issues with our Fendt tractor earlier in the season that meant the hydraulics were out of action for six weeks and so we couldn’t easily trim the vines and weed.  By the time we got it sorted there was so much to do that we were chasing our tails for quite a while.  It won’t be a problem going forward as we are about to take delivery of a new New Holland tractor so we will have two tractors to work with.  The New Holland will have what is called “supersteer” which will make life easier turning in tight circles at the end of the rows but may take a little while for me to get used to!!

Work didn’t stop by any means – just more manual labour but that’s been a good thing to study each row.

The run in to harvest is always a nervy time and is a fine balancing act: making sure the sugars are high enough before harvesting but not leaving it too late that botrytis (not the “Noble Rot” variety unfortunately) or downy mildew sets in or the wasps get at them… 

At this time of year the grapes get hit not just by bugs and disease but also by pheasant, woodpeckers and blackbirds as well as foxes and occasionally badgers.  We have pretty much every form of protection against the bird strikes that is reasonable (so we don’t have banging bird scarers but we do have nets, hawk kites and “angry bird” revolving balls) but really the nets are the only good protection and we can’t net the whole vineyard.  Next year we will roll out some electric fencing to keep the badgers and foxes out.

In the past, we’ve been out at 3am, 4am, 5am etc setting the frost guards when the temperature has been down but this year we were lucky not to need that.

So, how was harvest?  As good as we could have wished for.  It was about half of a normal year because of the bad air frosts we had in May but we knew that would be the case.  The positive is that the quality of the grapes we harvested was exceptional so while the volume will be down, the quality of the 2020 vintage All Angels Sparkling Wines will be great: we hope to split production into roughly 50% Classic Cuvée and 50% Sparkling Rosé.  We were planning to do something special with one parcel of Chardonnay but due to a third party error outside our control, that will have to wait for another year.

Not all the grapes were ripe enough to pick and quite a number were left on the vine.  They haven’t all gone to waste though and some have been turned into grape jelly.  So far we have “Rondo and Chili”, “Chardonnay and Mint”, “Pinot Gris and Clementine” and the Pinot Noir is still up in the air!!  Not for sale…