Updated: Sep 23, 2021
In the Vineyard
Anyone hoping for some sun these last couple of months will have noticed that this year’s summer has been rather disappointing. This has affected vineyards everywhere by slowing growth. Due to the way that we pruned at winter we do have plenty of berries, which will hopefully lead to a larger harvest than the last two years (potentially around 25 tonnes), so now we have our fingers crossed for some sunny days so that the grapes can continue ripening!
We have been lucky enough to bring in some seasonal staff to help out recently. From mid-July the team has been doing the wire lifting, shoot tucking, and shoot spacing. We lift the trellis wires in order to keep the canopy upright, and space the vine shoots which allows airflow to keep the vines dry and prevent disease. The spacing is also great for the sprays and sun which can both properly penetrate the canopy and thus have the maximum effect. Shoot tucking is where we slip any wayward shoots back into the trellising, not only does this look lovely and consistent, but it also gives the tractor proper access to the rows and helps us maintain the shoot positioning we need.
Around the beginning of August, Paul Langham of a’Beckett’s Vineyard came to trim back the excess growth of the vines which left them satisfyingly uniform. Since then, the tasks have included, strimming under the vines and removing leaves around the fruiting wire, plus continuing to fight any disease. In the last couple of weeks, we have also seen the grapes going through veraison (where they start to change colour, as shown below)!
This year has been incredibly exciting in terms of our trading. We have started selling our wine more actively, through our Tours and Tastings, Trade partners, and by attending Festivals.
This year we took part in the Chalke Valley History Festival between 23rd-27th June, where we had the opportunity to talk with visitors about our wines and offer tasters on site, plus bottles to take home. It was a wonderful event and we hope that we made good impressions on everyone, both with our wines and our shining personalities…
Second, was the Farley Music Festival held at All Saints Church. This consisted of five evenings of talented young musicians showcasing their skills to nightly audiences, and all was done for the church’s fund. Bluestone provided the interval drinks, pouring both our 2015 Classic Cuvee and 2018 Cuvee Rosé. We hope to be able to attend again next year!
We also took part in the gloriously sunny Winchester Foodies Festival, where, luckily, we had our chilled sparkling wines to keep people refreshed. We met lots of visitors at the event who took a real interest in what we are trying to do at Bluestone, and many of them were very keen to come and help us at the 2021 harvest!
From August 20th-22nd, Bluestone exhibited at the London Foodies Festival in Syon Park. We saw many familiar faces promoting their goods and managed to speak to plenty of curious customers. London is a very exciting potential market for us so we are keen to see how we fare in that environment.
Nat, flying solo, bravely held the fort at Christchurch Food Festival between 28th-30th August, doing a marvellous job of championing Bluestone and our wines with tasters and tales of the vineyard.
Our most recent trips were to Bristol, between 10th-12th September, and Bournemouth, between 17th-19th September. These were great opportunities for us to approach other markets that didn't yet really know us or our wines. We spent the three days at each festival talking to as many people as possible and actually ran out of our Classic Cuvee stocks at the stall in Bristol!
Tours, Tastings, and Yoga
Over the past few months we have also been kept busy at the weekends with a mix of Private and Signature Vineyard Tours and Tastings. Guests have been booking for birthdays, hen dos, or simply for an enjoyable day out at the vineyard! Whatever the reason has been, it is always lovely to welcome everyone to Bluestone, show them what we are doing, answer any questions, and follow up with a tasting of wine, cheese, and meat. We are aiming to strike the balance between providing an entertaining day mixed with the right amount of learning to give people the best of both worlds!
Finally, we have hosted our first two yoga retreats with Laura Green Yoga and Sow & Root! It has been so exciting to welcome teachers and pupils to the vineyard where they have taken part in tours, tastings and classes! This is something new for us and we are really happy with how it has worked out. We hope to run more of these in the future!
What’s to come?
We shall also be continuing our Tours and Tastings, hopefully until mid-October, but are very quickly running out of spaces. It would be fantastic to see you here for a walk and talk among the vines, so if you would like to visit then please have a look on our website and purchase a ticket for one of our upcoming slots.
In exciting news, we now have some very rough dates for harvest, which will be finalised nearer the time.
Pinot Harvest - 16th/17th October
Chardonnay Harvest - 23rd/ 24th October or (likely) later
We will create an Eventbrite page for people to book their places, and shall keep you updated using our mailing list, so if you are interested in this but not yet subscribed then please do so on our website.
To sign off, here is a lovely video of our Three Acre parcel and Vineyard Barn in the sun!