February Newsletter Link

Updated: Mar 1

1. 2021 Base Wine Tasting | 2. Easter Egg & Wine Hunt | 3. Vineyard Watch | 4. We're Hiring | 5. Eco-Packaging | 6. Wine Producers Licence | 7. Mother's Day | 8. Tours & Tastings | 9. Free Shipping on Wine Orders

1. 2021 Vintage Base Wine Tasting


2021 was an exciting and turbulent year. A kind of will they, won’t they vibe. The levels of anxiety were high and the levels of excitement to discover the end results even more so. I can tell you now that we have tasted some really lovely base wines from the 2021 harvest. 2021 is the first year that we achieved a 100% component of each variety, for example, we have tanks and barrels of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This is a big occasion for us in our short existence. We have the volumes to make some really lovely blends, but also perhaps to have a play and make some really interesting and extremely limited quantity wines. The wines are still going through malolactic fermentation, which is a process of softening acidity turning malic acid into lactic acid.


The Chardonnay is fresh, zesty with tropical fruit notes in some tanks. The acidity is unbelievably clean and not austere. The Pinot Noir is brilliantly fruity and it has such lovely poise and texture. The Pinot Meunier is uniquely beautiful, floral, weighty and full of fruit complexity at this young age.


We are very excited for assemblage come May time. This extra time in tanks and barrels does wonders for these base wines, allowing them to soften further and show their true colours.


2. Easter Holiday Egg & Wine Hunt


April 15th - 24th


What is the grownup version of chocolate? More chocolate!! Or wine, or both, just because we can. Well, this is exactly what you can do, both. Those of you who have visited us will know that our family farm is a petting zoo. Confusing for some yet ideal for others, especially when you can bring the whole family down to take part in what is going to be a fabulously fun Easter half term. We are going to be running a family friendly Easter egg hunt for the kids through the farm and vineyards alongside an Easter wine hunt for the grownups. Follow the trail, dodge the naughty Easter Bunny (who throws chocolate at you! mmmm) and follow the clues to discover your Easter treasure. Keep an eye out for details on our social media, Bluetone website and the farm website.



3. Vineyard Watch


As I am writing this entry, Toby is in the vineyard pruning, myself and Jack are shoe-horned into a make-shift office for the day as we eek out every inch of this place to try and generate revenue. There is a board meeting next door in what is our usual office with space aplenty. I look forward to not having to crawl under Jack’s legs to get to my tepid cup of tea. ‘Tis probably a good thing that it is not boiling, as this could cause complications (with him) on my way back to my “desk”.


Pruning is well under way. All of the Pinot grape vines (Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier) have been pruned, about 6000 vines so far. We currently have an arrangement to help Toby in the vineyard for one day per week to boost morale and help push on the volume of pruning. Only 9000 Chardonnay vines to go… Toby purchased himself a little present this year to help with pruning and tying down - electric secateurs and an electric tying machine too. Those of you who have supported us, we have reinvested into Toby’s wrists and time. So, thank you for that. It is quite a revolutionary piece of machinery, simple, but extremely effective. Pruning is a repetitive task and can strain the old wrists. The electric secateurs take the effort out essentially, like a warm knife through butter. Although, headaches have been the main cause of concern due to our shift in focus onto not losing fingers.

We always prune our Chardonnay after the Pinot. By delaying the pruning of our Chardonnay we hope to push the budding (emergence of new growth for this season) back further into the month come April time. By delaying this growth, even by a few days, could be the difference between a good crop or a poor crop if we were to be hit by a severe spring frost.


Weather & Conditions


The weather over winter when the grapevines are dormant is important. The Vitis Vinifera species of grapevine is hardy and can survive freezing temperatures down to -15°C, so the cold doesn’t bother them too much in our climate. The cold helps the vines draw nutrients back into the trunk and roots ready for the next season of growth. The rain is key to replenishing soil moisture and groundwater levels. You want good moisture levels in the soil in Spring ready for the vines to mobilise nutrients stored in the trunk and roots to the actively growing parts of the vine.


We have had a fairly mild and dry winter so far, spare the few extremes in Storm Eunice and Storm Arwen. We are going into 2022 on a fairly level playing field.


Cropping


2021 saw us harvest a total of 32 tonnes of grapes. We took 30 tonnes to Hambledon to make our sparkling wines and we kept 2 tonnes to make wine on-site at Bluestone. Cropping at this level equates to 8 tonnes per hectare, which is an extremely good level of production for a small vineyard. We hope to maintain a level of between 7-10 tonnes per hectare on average. To achieve this level of production you need to maintain soil health and keep balance in the vineyards. You must monitor soil nutrient levels to ensure that vine nutrients remain in the right ratios for optimal vine performance.



4. We're Hiring!


We are looking for someone to join our team as we are hoping to expand our tour and tasting offering at the vineyard and we need a lovely person to help us achieve this. We thought we would start by asking our community of involved and friendly people that we have met and come to know over the years. Could this role be for you or someone you know? The role title is Customer Experience Team Member and the responsibilities can be found here. This would be perfect for someone looking to learn a new career, being involved in all components of the business with a focus on sales. Join our young and exciting business and ambitious team.

Customer Experience Team Member
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5. Eco-Packaging


We are always on the lookout for ways in which we can improve. The environment is extremely important to us and we have made a conscious decision to make the “better” choice when there are clear rights and wrongs when we do things. We have recently started using Pulp Safe packaging as a replacement for any plastic packaging we have previously used. We used the Airpack system before, which provides excellent protection for the wine during transit, however I am not 100% confident in its sustainability. Having said this, there are some great alternatives such as an Airpack system that says it is now 100% biodegradable. We are constantly changing and keeping an eye on what is the best solution for us.


Pulp Safe is made from fully recycled cardboards, made in the UK and is 100% recyclable or compostable.


6. Wine Producers Licence


As our wines are currently made at Hambledon winery, we aren’t required to hold a wine producers licence. By registering as a producer you are telling the HMRC that you will be owing tax, and boy will they suddenly pay attention. We are registered as a production business with the FSA (Food Standards Agency), which gives guidance on legislation of production, labelling and so on.


The short of it is, if we are approved, we can sell the wine that we have made on-site, which is very exciting. We’ll have to get those of you who want to come to taste the wines to the vineyard once we hear the news!


7. Mother's Day

Bluestone Sparkling Afternoon Tea


Mother's Day - Sunday 27th March 2022 - £45pp

Book by Sunday 6th and get 10% off your afternoon tea using the code: ILOVEYOU

We'd like you to treat your Mother or Mother figure in your life, and to help you we are going to keep things simple.

Come and visit us in the vineyard for our luxury Bluestone Sparkling Afternoon Tea for two. All locally sourced, home-prepared and homemade.

What you can expect with your afternoon tea for two:


A glass of Classic Cuvee each (125ml)


Finger sandwiches

- Free-range egg mayonnaise & cress

- Smoked, Hampshire chalk stream trout, cream cheese & cucumber

- Wiltshire ham & wholegrain mustard

- Locally reared, roast beef & horseradish


Savoury nibbles

- Homemade free range scotch egg

- Homemade pork pie

- Homemade miniature sausage rolls


Sweets

- Luxury Brownie Bites

- Scone with butter, clotted cream and New Forest strawberry jam


Including tea or coffee

- Dorset Tea

- Peaberry coffee


All of this deliciousness for £45pp


8. Improved Self-Guided Tour & New Signature Tour Dates


The signs are being printed as I am writing. We will have our new signs installed and ready to go by Easter 2022. With the Self-Guided Tour, you will enjoy a glimpse into the vineyard, our story and also our wine, with our Self-Guided Tasting sheet. Discover Bluestone at your own pace.


We have also released new dates for our Signature Vineyard Walk and Wine Tastings. By adding more slots on weekends we have doubled the fun, and have also extended the tour season by a month either side starting from April through to October


9. Free Shipping on Bluestone Wine Order Over £105

Use the code MARCHSHIP at checkout.


This is a great opportunity to top up your wine racks, cellars and fridges with free shipping on orders over £105. This saves you £10, and if you order before midday you will get your wine the next day.

We only have 600 bottles left of our Cuvee Rosé 2018, which was a fabulous vintage making the Rosé more approachable in its youth but it has the legs and structure to go some distance too. Delicate coral pink in colour, fresh and light aromas of strawberries and cream with a palate of tantalising cranberries and strawberry and lemon sorbet. Crisp, refreshing and oh so drinkable.

Our Classic Cuvee 2017 is showing well right now as well. It is more forthcoming allowing pleasurable drinking now, especially when compared to the 2015 with similar ageing. This has beautiful citrus and green apple aromas cutting through wafts of freshly baked pain au raisin. The acidity is clean and cleansing, daring you to go back for more. How can one resist? This will be lovely with some bottle age too, so stock up and sneak a few bottles away.

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