Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Time for Trellising

Today marks the start of our last big job of the season, installing the trellising system for the vineyard. This is the framework needed so we can train the vine into the right shape, helping to get the best out of each vine by maximizing sun exposure whilst also aiding mechanization. It’s going to take about 3 weeks to complete and for once, much to my satisfaction, we have other people to do this!

We have chosen to use metal post, which although are slightly more expensive, do last a good 25 years, which is re-assuring. And because of our hard, flinty ground, they're much easier to put in than wood.

As for the vines, well they have had a tough few months of it with the serious lack of rain, and pretty much stopped growing for a while. Thankfully the last couple of weeks we have seen some moisture and the tips have started growing again.

So far it is shaping up to be a good UK vintage for established vineyards, although not so great for the new plantings, but they should have it easier next year. It’s also been pretty hot out in Bordeaux as well, with people already bigging up the vintage. But there is still a long way to go, and as we have seen many times before, always comes down to the autumn!

We also enjoyed an English sparkling wine tasting on Sunday, after helping my mum and Cherry label their very first vintage of Wyfold - the sparkling produced from their own 1 hectare plot - made at Ridgeview in West Sussex.

We tasted all the top names from the industry, Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Chapel Down etc. This was the first chance to taste all these wines together, along with Wyfold and Theale vineyard. I was amazed by the different styles of each wine, and it was quite clear that they were not Champagne, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Such diversity was great to see, and made me wonder how ours would eventually turn out.

I was once told that sparkling is the ultimate expression of Terroir, mainly because they are all made in exactly the same way, so any differences are down to the vineyard site. In Champagne this is hidden as most are blends from many sites and often years, but this is not the case for many UK wines, which maybe a good thing and a point of difference.

Visit laithwaites.co.uk

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