Wine club members picking Seyval grapes
On Saturday we started picking some grapes. If you are thinking this is a bit early to harvest then you're right! Most years we have a 'green harvest' at this time of year, especially if the weather isn't in our favour and we need to help the ripening process. This grape thinning involves picking some of the grapes early in order to give the others a better chance of ripening. Hopefully this will result in a good harvest this October!
This video was filmed when we made Monty's Pet Nat and it explains a bit more about why we do a green harvest, and why there is always a debate between owner Nick and vineyard manager Alex! But Nick has come round to Alex's way of thinking: "Short term pain for long term gain..."
Owner Nick Wenman
Some loyal wine club members braved the changeable weather conditions to help us with the picking and they were rewarded with some delicious food provided by Four Gables. Four Gables are also going to be helping us make some cordial from the 'verjus' - the juice obtained from pressing the grapes at the stage.
The earliest reference to verjus dates back to 71AD, where a Roman recipe cites three different types of grape juice: grape juice syrup, wine and verjus, and it was commonly used in medieval kitchens until other sour ingredients including lemons arrived from Europe. Recently there has been a verjus revival and it is starting to make an appearance in modern recipes; Nigel Slater has a recipe for chicken with verjus, celery and cream, and Ottolenghi braises fennel, capers and olives in verjus.