As the vineyard eases into a mosaic of autumnal colours we can now be fully thankful that our our first harvest has not only been picked safely but it was done so in such lovely conditions and by an marvellous team of volunteers. Thank you!
As we're the first to plant vines around in this area for 2000 years we have no idea what to expect! Although on paper the vineyard has some ideal soil, great Jurassic limestone, south facing and a it's on a nice slope we still were a little apprehensive what this will produce- if anything!
Adding to the big unknown we also had summer 2022 we recorded 41C in the vineyard at a time when vintage 23 was taking shape. These extreme conditions can put a lot of stress on the budds that were forming for the next year's crop. However we can only control what we can and in early October this year we picked our Bacchus and Ortega berries!
We're happy to report that our fears were put aside as were incredibly happy with the results and loved seeing the boxes getting fully by the minute with our Rutland army of pickers!
The next step was to take our grapes down to Defined Wine in Kent. Lots of people have asked why we are not making our own wine. Wine making is easy....... good wine making taking decades to learn! We love looking after the grapes and lovingly growing the vines, but we have no experience of making wine! We're going to let the professionals take care of this element. Defined Wine have attracted some of the best wine makers from around the world and are a jewel in the English wine crown! We have told them what flavours we're after, and we will pop down to determine which way to take the wine taste profile while the wine is been made so it's exactly to our loving! Wineries are also ridiculously expensive to set up and we also wouldn't want to spoil the look of our beautiful tasting barn standing alone above the valley.
Once all the white grapes had made it safely to Defined Wine our attention turned towards the red berries!
The reason white grapes generally get picked first is we want the slightly higher acid levels in these grapes to produce a nice balanced white wine. We love the taste of tropical fruits along side a nice sharp finish in mouthwatering English wines so we pick while the acid levels are still available.
English red wine however is all about the berry, tannin and and smooth aftertaste. So we leave these vines for a little longer to ensure the sugar levels increase and the acid levels drop away. In mid October we again called on our pickers again and they came to finish our harvest off!
Along with the red grapes for our first ever red wine we also picked two red varieties which we are turning into a clear English sparkling. This will use the traditional method which in normal talk is 'champagne' style production. The only downside is we aren't going to be able to taste this one for a few years!
However our first ever white and red wine will be available in 2024 which we are so excited about. Thank you to everyone that's helped us get this far and a big thanks to the Rutland pickers who helped bring the harvest in! Wishing you all the best Zoe, Tim and team x