2012 - A Challenging Year
2012 will be remembered as a very difficult year for vineyards in England. Quite simply the weather has been dreadful - the worst that anyone can remember since 1997.
Having successfully protected the vines against the April frosts, the problems started with poor fruit set in the summer. Grapes pollinate themselves and need a period of dry warm weather in late June/early July. Unfortunately it was wet and windy which reduced yields to only 25%-30% of what they might have been. The wet weather also resulted in some downey mildew on some of the chardonnay. More recently the lack of sun meant that some of the fruit took a long time to ripen and the harvest was delayed by almost 3 weeks. We were then hit by a fairly severe Autumn frost!
To make sure that we didn't compromise on quality we have selectively hand picked only the ripest bunches of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for our Silent Pool Rosé 2012. We won't have a lot of it (around 1200 bottles) but what we do have should be very good.
Overall we picked about 3.5 tonnes of fruit which will also be used to produce a base wine for our bubbly which will be released in 2014/2015.
Alex and the team have done an amazing job this year in delivering some great fruit in very challenging conditions. It is particularly gratifying that we were able to do this whilst sticking to our organic principles of not using any systemic chemicals to fight off disease. From what I've heard we have faired much better than most conventional growers.
Many thanks also to family and friends who helped with the picking. Ever optimistic, I'm sure that next year will be a bumper harvest.