A huge thank you to everyone who came to help us pick our grapes this year! We are thrilled to announce that, together, we have harvested a total of around 33 tons. Up from 20 tons last year. We are even considering making some Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs from this year’s berries.
The season itself was exceptionally difficult, with a real lack of sunshine, some spring frosts and rather high levels of rain all having adverse effects. Toby has done a fantastic job in the vineyard, taking meticulous care of the vines. His hard work has allowed us to bring in very high quality fruit that is even better than the 2020 vintage.
The First Pick
We began on October 16th and 17th when over 50 pickers came each day to assist with the harvest weekend. Over this period we focussed on our high quality red grapes: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, both of which are vital blending components for our sparkling wine. We stuck to these as they were at a later stage of ripeness in comparison to our Chardonnay. In total we managed to take a total of almost 15 tons off the vines.
These were then taken over to Hambledon Vineyard and Winery to be pressed. Here you can see the grapes as they begin their journey:
We were thrilled with the juice that came from our grapes. As you can see in this video, it is beautifully clean.
As usual, we fed and watered our volunteers with breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea, including a glass of our sparkling wine! We like to take care of everyone as well as we can while they do such a fantastic job helping us, plus having a chance to sit down with people allows us to get to know each other better.
Rain Clouds on the Horizon
The week after we realised that bad weather was fast approaching, making it vital to bring in our premium Chardonnay. There was rain forecast that we had to avoid in order to prevent our grapes from succumbing to disease pressure and becoming watery. Over three days, from 21st-23rd October we were able to harvest another 15 tons with the help of more brilliant volunteers! These were difficult days as we had to move very quickly in order to prevent any issues arising from the rain and we were very relieved when we had brought in all the grapes!
The vast majority of our grapes are delivered to Hambledon Vineyard and Winery for the winemaking process. Over the last couple of years we have also harvested some grapes to use ourselves. With these we are improving our winemaking experience with some of our own small scale equipment. Doing this gives us a lot of freedom to better our skills before we can bring the whole process in-house. Below is a photo with the grapes after the juice has been extracted.
We cannot thank you all enough for your invaluable assistance over what is our most important time of the year. The team has taken some time off to recover from the culmination of the season and are very excited for the run up to Christmas where we are now looking into new projects to put in place. We hope that you really feel a part of what we are trying to achieve here, and that you will keep following our progress as we move forwards.