Fall Harvest in Full Swing!

I was fortunate enough to spend a day at Exton Park last week and see the harvest in full swing. I even loaded a few crates into the press! Volumes are down this year due to the spring frosts, which also led to an unusual picking pattern, needing multiple passes through the vineyard. The quality of the fruit that is there though is very good.

I was again impressed at how focused Corinne and Fred are on making wines that reflect their unique terroir, with minimal intervention and manipulation. While there, we loaded Pinot Noir to the press that was picked that morning. The pressing is very gentle, taking 2-3 hours for several tons of fruit, and the juice is kept away from oxygen to retain the freshness of the fruit.

Great Harvest for English Wine Producers

Photo: Ian Primrose

Photo: Ian Primrose

I had the chance to visit many vineyards in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire during a whirlwind trip to the UK in September. There's a real excitement about this year's harvest  - with many winemakers talking about making vintages - and the prospects for English sparkling wine overall. 

After tasting several bottles you can see why English sparkling has racked up so many awards recently and generated international interest. The wine has its own personality, which Hugh Johnson has called "orchard freshness". It's true to the terroir while maintaining the qualities that you would expect from any great Champagne.  

There's still room for growth and refinement but English sparkling is definitely on an upward trajectory.

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Photos: Ian Primrose