Know Your Grapes – Pinot Noir Precoce

Over the last couple millennia grape varieties have been crossed and changed to make all the modern grape varietals possible, but frühburgunder (/frūeh-bur-gūn-dur/) has remained unchanged for over 2000 years. It stands alone. 

Frühburgunder is the German name for the grape varietal called “pinot madeleine” in French and also sometimes “pinot noir précoce.” It is by far the oldest pinot and the others, such as pinot noir, pinot gris, and pinot blanc, share no ancestry with frühburgunder. 

It is a noble grape that is as rare as it is special, albeit is a favoured red grape in England due to it’s earlier ripening.

The German name frühburgunder literally means that it is a pinot that ripens earlier relative to other pinots. “Burgunder” is used in German to mean a pinot because pinots are grown with well-known success in Burgundy, France and the German word for early is “früh.” 

Frühburgunder ripens usually in mid to late September with medium öchsle measurements. 

That is a couple weeks before the grape varietal spätburgunder (/shpāt-bur-gūn-dur/) (pinot noir) which means the “late pinot.” Frühburgunder is typically an intensely colored medium tannin red wine with pronounced strawberry, over-ripe cherry, blackberry and red currant tones. 

As frühburgunder ages it typically develops licorice and plum tones and then sweet wood and nutty nougat later.

New Website Launched

Hello everyone – it was a great end to the week last week with our wine label design & box design being finalised with both of these now at the respective manufacturers for processing. These can now be revealed right here :-

We’re just a week or so away from our first wines being bottled and ready for sale – so all those of you that were kind enough to pre-order back in November your wines will be with you in just a few short weeks.

So to coincide with the launch of the wines we’ve re-vamped the website which (as you can see) launches today!  

We’ve striped it down and made it much easier for people to book Vineyard Tours, order Adopt-A-Vine’s and, coming soon, buy our wine.

All of the purchasing is now done through our sister website The English Wine Shop – the links will take you to the product page and you can complete your purchase with Credit or Debit Cards or via PayPal as before.

Over the weekend Barry & groundsman Drew attended the Tissington Hall Wedding Fayre on Sunday which went very well, so if you’re attending a wedding this summer look out for English Wines and possibly Amber Valley Wines there!

This week we’ll be tying down the vines to the fruiting wires as the threat of frosts has almost gone and par-taking in the first “bud rubbing” of the season.

From then we’ll be promoting the launch of our wines as much as we can in the lead up to the Derbyshire Food & Drink Festival May 16th & 17th at Kedleston Hall – where you’ll find us running the festival bar with Derventio Brewery.  Come & join us – the sun always shines!

Have a great week everyone.


Duncan & Barry

Know Your Grapes – Phoenix

Phoenix is a green-skinned grape used in the production of white wines and table grapes in England and Germany. The variety was bred for its disease-resistance in 1964, in Pfalz, Germany, from a crossing of Bacchus and Seyval Blanc. Interestingly, Phoenix is classified as a Vitis vinifera grape, despite the hybrid parentage of Seyval Blanc.

As a wine, Phoenix is quite aromatic, with Muscat-like qualities, elderflower and herbaceous notes. It has large, tightly packed bunches and is a productive variety that needs minimal human intervention.

Grape ‘Phoenix’ produces good sized grapes in densely packed bunches. When fully ripe, these grapes have a light Muscat aroma and an excellent flavour, making them ideal for 

With their large leaves and good autumn colour, these grape vines are also very attractive.