It has been a funny old year so far. For us in the Amber Valley it has been an extraordinarily mixed growing season and we’re by no means unusual in that. Speaking to winegrowing colleagues in Cornwall they too have experienced an unusual year. I love this time of year; the season of worry, wondering and nail biting now behind us and seeing what nature gives you in the end. At this point you shrug your shoulders and say ce la vie!
For us the season started off with a cool, wet late Spring leading to a late budburst, in turn giving late flowering and then a protracted fruit set period in late June i
nto early July. Everything looked small, undeveloped with little hope of ever producing decent grapes following all this but a warm mostly dry, at times hot summer with just enough rain at just the right times to push on the swelling berries worked its magic. The September heatwave that gave way to mainly sunny and dry days following it all the way into October has been fabulous. In the end our Solaris, Ortega, Bolero and Rondo grapes in The Little Vineyard raced ahead to fulfill a half decent harvest. We had a battle with the wasps too.
We’ve just had the Solaris and Rondo picked from our main vineyard too. Not a huge amount of fruit but it’s all good quality.
We’re looking forward to a good Phoenix harvest this year, after a none event last year due to poor weather. This year they’ve really taken off.
It wasn’t by any means a perfect year, as a nation and as a region we have our own challenges when it comes to grape growing. It was also noticeably humid this year too so powdery mildew has been a problem on our Pinot Noir and Seigrebbe grapes. We’re keeping an eye on out Phoenix grapes, which tend to be susceptible to it too.
We’ve also has an issue with our Seyval Blanc grapes this year as well, at flowering these last two years we’ve had the promise of lots of flowers and fruit to follow but in both years we’ve barely had any fruit. We think it may be a deficiency of phosphate or potassium so some soil adjustments to make next year.
This year I’m trying out some winemaking from small batches of fruit, so far with a reasonable amount of success. Against my better judgement I’m even trying for a red wine from Rondo and Bolero grapes. With our own winery looming I have to cut my teeth with winemaking at some point. I’ll keep you posted!