The summer of 2021 was cool, wet and tricky for growing grapes. The weather really sorted the men from the boys in the vineyards, with those experienced, diligent vineyard managers having to use all the tools at their disposal to keep on top of the vines. Any chink in the armour was exploited by downy mildew, powdery mildew and then botrytis towards the end of the season. I’m happy to say that our vineyard team - Colin, Alan and Romain – along with our loyal band of volunteers absolutely nailed it this year. The vineyard was immaculate and no disease to be seen. A truly epic effort.
Overall, it was a low-yielding vintage, across the board, and ripeness was variable. It was tough in many ways, the weather being one, meaning that harvest was late, slow to get going and very wet and cold. In addition we had the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid combining to really test our resilience. We lost access to the European labour market where we normally get a huge number of students and interns to work in the cellar for harvest leading to a lively and diverse group of young people gaining experience and exchanging ideas. Thanks to Covid neither were we able to access the other pool of potential itinerant cellar crew from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Canada. With a very young and inexperienced crew of Brits we managed to get through the 340 tonnes of fruit that arrived from across the country.
Despite the unique challenges of 2021, we do have some very good-looking base wines in tank and we are very excited about the quality of the final sparkling wine cuvees we are starting to blend now.
Watch this space!