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Rain plunges Scottish wine hopes into crisis

Fife may not be the new Loire quite yet, as the owner of Scotland’s only commercially focused vineyard reveals that the business is in crisis owing to too much rain.

Charlie Trotter
Christopher Trotter has issued a plea for professional help to make wine from grapes grown on his vineyard in Fife after two failed vintages in succession

Former chef and food writer Christopher Trotter, from Aberdeen, had banked on global warming helping to realise Scotland’s viticultural potential when he planted his Château Largo vineyard in Upper Largo, near Fife, in 2011.

The Savoy-trained Trotter was inspired to plant his vines after a farmer friend suggested global warming would give Fife the climate of the Loire Valley within two decades.

However persistent rain in this historically wet region of eastern Scotland has frustrated Trotter’s ambitions.

After the vineyard failed to make a single bottle of wine last year, and having made just 10 bottles the year before, which critics branded “undrinkable”, Trotter has issued a plea for professional help to make future vintages of Château Largo wine.

“Growing grapes to work with two years ago proved my point that they can be ripened this far north, but unfortunately we just weren’t good a making wine,” Trotter told The Times.

‘I will continue to prune and weed the vines, and generally take care of them. The vines will live for 50 years but I really need someone to come and make the wine with me.”

The drinks business reported in July 2015 how Château Largo failed to produce any saleable bottles from last year’s vintage after the wine – made early-ripening Solaris and Siegerrebe – succumbed to oxidation.

Trotter remained upbeat after this setback, saying his wine would “never be like Chablis” but that he continued to believe making a “good-quality table wine” was still possible.

A recent db article noted how one leading expert had acknowledged that climate change was widening the limits of the “latitude or altitude at which wine grape growing is economically possible” and creating new cool climate regions. However Fife was not mentioned as one of them.

Professor Kym Anderson, of the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University, made the comments ahead of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS), which is to be held in Brighton in May of this year. Anderson will deliver the keynote speech at the event. 

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