English winemakers hail ‘near perfect’ 2014

The English wine industry is revelling in the prospect of a second consecutive record year as this summer’s warm, dry conditions continue to hold out during harvest.

Harvest in full swing at Chapel Down

Harvest in full swing at Chapel Down

Even before picking has finished – or even started in the case of many sparkling wine estates – producers across the country are predicting a large harvest of high quality grapes that looks set to surpass the “excellent” 2013 vintage reported by English Wine Producers following last year’s similarly warm summer.

“2013 was good, but this year has been near perfect from start to finish,” reported Roger White, owner of Yearlstone Vineyard in Devon.

The mood was similarly upbeat in Hampshire, where Jenkyn Place’s owner Simon Bladon tweeted: “We’re getting very excited about this year’s harvest. We’re hoping it will be our biggest & best ever.”

Among the country’s clutch of most recently established producers welcoming such favourable conditions as they seek to establish themselves is Wendy Outhwaite QC, who launched the West Sussex-based Ambriel brand with her husband Charles last year.

“The best thing that has happened is that the nights have remained warm,” she told the drinks business. “The fact that there has been no dramatic temperature drops overnight has really helped ripening.”

With Ambriel’s Burgundian clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir “already at full ripeness”, Outhwaite remarked: “The flavours are absolutely outstanding.” She attributed this in particular to the long, slow ripening which has characterised 2014’s growing season.

Meanwhile Bob Lindo, owner of Camel Valley Vineyard confirmed: “Ripeness and quantity exceeded expectations and pre-picking predictions. There’s a lot of ripe grapes out there for the 2014 vintage.”

Indeed, so warm have conditions been that at the end of last week he remarked: “I never thought I’d ever say this, but I’m beginning to wonder if grapes will have a high enough acidity by the end of picking.”

This run of two consecutive strong vintages has been particularly welcome after the wet, problematic 2012 when one of the country’s largest producers, Nyetimber, famously decided not to harvest any grapes at all.

The good conditions will also offer a boost to the English wine industry as it undergoes a period of major expansion which will require producers to find a wider market for their wines. According to English Wine Producers’ data from 2013, there are now 135 wineries in England, with a combined 1,884 hectares of vineyards and 4.45 million bottle production.

However, earlier this year Rathfinny Estate in East Sussex opened the UK’s largest winery to-date, which aims to produce one million bottles a year by 2020. Another major producer, Chapel Down, recently embarked on a large scale crowdfunding initiative to raise money for expanding its business.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Marketing Manager

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Partner Manager - Manged On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Brand Manager

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Head of Sales

IWSC
London, UK

Logistic and Fullfilment - Whisky (and wine) administrator

Stilnovisti Ltd
London, United Kingdom // Dufftown, Keith, United Kingdom

Account Manager

Harviestoun Brewery
Field Based, UK

Buyer - Spain & South America

Enotria&Coe
London, UK

Events Sales Manager

Enotria&Coe
Field based - London or surrounding area

IBWSS China

Shanghai,China
5th Nov 2018

Exploring Beaujolais Wines Across The Years & Appellations

Manchester,United Kingdom
6th Nov 2018

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2019
Click to view more

Green Awards 2018

Deadline : 19th October 2018

Rioja Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th October 2018

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters 2018

As with all of the drinks business awards, our judging panel is comprised of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers making the competition globally renowned.

Champagne Masters 2018

Enter your wines into the Champagne Masters 2018, the only blind competition dedicated to Champagne in the UK.

Click to view more