Nyetimber loses 90% of buds in certain vineyards

The devastating spring frosts that swept through Europe last month have left revered English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber with bud losses of up to 90% in certain vineyard parcels in Hampshire and West Sussex.

Nyetimber’s winemaker Brad Greatrix

Speaking to the drinks business at the English Wine Producers tasting in London yesterday, Nyetimber’s winemaker Brad Greatrix said:

“At our Hampshire site the temperature dipped to -6° on the night of 27 April and some of our vineyards were badly hit by the frost.

a touch of frost

“There are different types of frosts and this was advection frost when a cold air mass flows across the vineyard and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“A few nights before we’d been up all night defending ourselves against radiation frost, but with advection frost all you can do is cross your fingers.

“Our yields could be down by around 50% across the board but we lost 90% of our buds in our Hampshire vineyard. Some areas were more affected than others. Of what we have left the quality is still there at the moment, we’re just down on quantity like last year.

“It came at exactly the wrong time to as it had been so warm with no rain, meaning early bud burst. When we were inspecting the vines afterwards, some of the buds looked healthy but when you touch them they crumble into dust.”

Denbies in Surrey also suffered substantial losses to its crop. “It is heartbreaking for me and for those working in the vineyard who work tirelessly each year and in all weather conditions to see the fruits of their labour wiped out overnight,” Denbies CEO Chris White told Get Surrey.

Albury Vineyard in the Surrey Hills just outside Guildford suffered damage to 80% of its crop despite lighting thousands of candles among the vines in a bid to stave off the frost.

Owner Nick Wenman told Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was like an Arctic wind that blew through the vineyard and froze everything in its path.”

Volumes of English wine dipped nearly 20% below the average production last year due to a combination of cool conditions during the summer and a lack of moisture in the later part of the growing season.

One Response to “Nyetimber loses 90% of buds in certain vineyards”

  1. Luisa Welch says:

    Let’s do all we can to support English Wine

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