The recent damp weather has resulted in Botrytis on some of the fruit. It's not too bad at the moment, and is mainly restricted to the Seyval, but the later we leave picking the more it will spread. As a rough rule of thumb the level of infection normally doubles every week.
Botrytis, or bunch rot
as it is know in viticulture, is a fungus that attacks the fruit as it begins to ripen. It thrives in...
Earlier today we prepared a Pied de Cuve, which is maybe the first time it has ever been made in the UK.
The purpose of a Pied de Cuve is to cultivate the yeasts on the skins of the grapes, so that these naturally occurring yeasts can be used to ferment the wine, rather than a commercial yeast that would normally be added in the winery. Yeasts have their own flavour characteristics and by using...
Sulphur Dioxide in wine has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with many consumers arguing that it contributes to hangovers as well as numerous other health problems, including breathing difficulties for asthmatics, sneezing and swelling of the throat.
All wines contain sulphur dioxide in various forms. Even if it isn't added as part of the wine making process, wine will naturally...
Together with winemaker John Worontschak, and Stephen Skelton MW, I excitedly tasted the very first bottle of Albury Estate sparkling wine earlier today, a NV blend of wines from the 2011 and 2012 vintages.
It was only bottled earlier this year and has therefore just been through secondary fermentation to give it it's fizz. It will continue to rest on the yeast in the bottle (known as sur latte
We are probably still 5 weeks away from the harvest as veraison is late this year. It started week beginning 26th August with the Seyval, week commencing 2nd September for the Pinot Meunier with the Pinot Noir a week later. Last week the Chardonnay were still pretty green.
Grapes have two distinct growth phases. The first phase is when the cells divide and expand and the grapes begin to swell and...
|Alex dynamising 501|
We were up very early today preparing biodynamic preparation 501 to spray on the vineyard.
Biodynamics is based on organic practices but also uses natural energy forces (like those generated by the moon), medicinal plants (such as yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle and dandelion), as well as mineral and natural cow manure composts. This strengthens the vines and produces...
|Leaf Removal using a Collard machine|
Around this time of year it is important to remove some of the foliage around the forming bunches of grapes. This opens up the canopy which improves airflow and reduces the risk of disease. It also allows the grapes to be exposed to more sunlight which improves flavour characteristics. Those of you interested in more detail should read Dr Richard Smart's...
|A Sunny Albury Organic Vineyard in the Surrey Hills|
The temperature on the vineyard reached 35.8C yesterday at around 2.00pm as we completed the wire lifting on Block B. We were wilting but the vines are very happy with flowering, and now fruit set, throughout the vineyard.
Now that I'm a farmer I find that I'm generally always complaining about the weather, but the current sunny warm spell couldn't...
|The beginning of flowering (Seyval)|
Flowering has at last started on the vineyard, with most of the Chardonnay and Seyval showing around 25% flowers. The Pinots are a bit behind but with the current warm weather we hope that most of the vineyard will be in full flower the end of the weekend. The vines are several weeks behind their normal growth cycle because of the cold weather earlier in the...
|John Worontschak of Litmus Wines and Marcus Sharp|
supervise the bottling of our first bubbly
Earlier this week I watched our first sparkling wine being bottled.
Since we planted our vines in 2009 and 2010, the weather has been against us and harvests have been extremely difficult. Non the less we have produced some excellent base wine which will hopefully result in a first class English bubbly.