English wine harvest is a corker
The UK wine harvest looks set potentially to produce an excellent vintage. English producers were upbeat about the results, although this year’s weather has brought some anomalies. RidgeView winemaker and director Mike Roberts told the UK Wine Show that there are two consistent reports among producers here. The first is a problem with botrytis, the fungal disease that affects almost ripe or damaged grapes, particularly in humid weather. However, he said, the majority of growers have managed it to a reasonable issue. The second is low acidity, and it’s important to have good acidity levels when making quality sparkling wines. Overall though at RidgeView, Mike said, ‘It’s a fabulous harvest. I was delighted that we had our new Coquard press as we pressed our biggest harvest ever. It’s the first Coquard in the UK,’ he said, explaining that all the top Champagne houses use this type of press.
Nyetimber, which just last week was crowned UK Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine & Spirit Competition Awards, was also happy with what came out of the vineyard. Paul Woodrow-Hill, the Vineyard Manager, told ThirtyFifty, ‘Quality-wise it’s very, very good. I’m excited about it.’ Nyetimber started picking on 9th October because the acidity level in the grapes were dropping quickly. This was a week ahead of when they expected to. However, generally he believes, ‘Potentially it could be a very good vintage, on a par with some of the best.’
At Chapel Down winemaker Owen Elias, too, thought that the quality of the harvest was very good, with high volumes. ‘It’s been strange though,’ he said. ‘It started two weeks early but some people have only just finished.’ Talking about some of the grape varieties that Chapel Down uses for still wines, Owen told Thirtyfifty that the harvest should produce nice, spicy Bacchus. The Rondo results, however, were mixed. ‘It can overcrop quite heavily,’ he explained, but added, ‘We tend to use it for rosé now and for that it’s ok.’