Vineyard December 2021

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VINEYAR VINEYARD YAR Y D for viticulturists in Great Britain ™


Vintage 2021 A harvest roundup from England & Wales


Boosting social media at Christmas Matthew Jukes – goodwill to all wine lovers Wraxall Vineyard enters a new era


• Vineyard sales & acquisition • Planning applications • Business plans • Environmental schemes • Grants •

Matthew Berryman 07710 765323



0333 577 6466 0333 577 6466 Chester, Cheshire (HQ) Chester, Cheshire (HQ) Amathus Drinks London | Muswell Hill | South Kensington | SOHO

Amathus Drinks Drinks London | Muswell Hill | South Kensington Amathus Kensington || SOHO SOHO

VINEYARD for viticulturists in Great Britain

NEWS 8 Plumpton Wine to host scientific sensory courses VINEYARD Kelsey Media, The Granary, Downs Court Yalding Hill, Yalding, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 6AL 01959 541444 EDITORIAL Editor: Jo Cowderoy GRAPHIC DESIGN Jo Legg Flair Creative Design ADVERTISEMENT SALES Jamie McGrorty 01303 233883 PHOTOGRAPHER Martin Apps MANAGEMENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Steve Wright CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Phil Weeden MANAGING DIRECTOR: Kevin McCormick PUBLISHER: Jamie McGrorty RETAIL DIRECTOR: Steve Brown RENEWALS AND PROJECTS MANAGER: Andy Cotton SENIOR SUBSCRIPTION MARKETING MANAGER: Nick McIntosh SUBSCRIPTION MARKETING DIRECTOR: Gill Lambert SUBSCRIPTION MARKETING MANAGER: Kate Chamberlain SENIOR PRINT PRINT PRODUCTION MANAGER: Georgina Harris PRINT PRODUCTION CONTROLLER: Kelly Orriss DISTRIBUTION Distribution in Great Britain: Marketforce (UK) 3rd Floor, 161 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9AP Tel: 0330 390 6555 PRINTING Precision Colour Print Kelsey Media 2020 © all rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. Kelsey Media takes your personal data very seriously. For more information of our privacy policy, please visit Kelsey Media takes your personal data very seriously. For more information of our privacy policy, please visit . If at any point you have any queries regarding Kelsey’s data policy you can email our Data Protection Officer at

10 English Nouveau 2021 12 Preference for natural cork


18 In conversation...

John Mobbs created Great British Wine – the goto website for the most concise and up to date information on English and Welsh wine.

20 Matthew Jukes

Goodwill to all wine lovers.

32 Representing you

WineGB Winemaking Conference 2021.

34 The agronomy diary

Vineyard sustainability: to measure is to manage.

36 The vine post

18 months to produce a vine plant.

42 44 47 59

Carbon neutral glass Charmat – your flexible friend Meet the people behind the wines Machinery

The machine hire option.


37 Under cover at Haygrove Evolution Haygrove Evolution opened its doors – or rather polytunnels – to a group of agronomists and interested parties to see the progress of their pot grown, fertigated vines.

38 An overview from down under

As honorary president of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the intergovernmental organisation of which the UK is now a member, Australian-based international viticulturist Peter Hayes is able to maintain a broad connection with a wide array of issues confronting the global grape and wine industry.

Front cover image: Harvest of the Reichensteiner begins at Biddenden Vineyard, Kent © Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic

globe-asia twitter @VineyardMagGB facebook VineyardMagGB

CONTENTS Features New era


Vineyard hears about the exciting plans to modernise and renovate at Wraxall Vineyard to produce high quality wines perfect for the tourism and foodscape scene.

Vintage 2021: North, South, East and West


This year shortage of labour and the dreaded downy added to the challenges. Vineyard captures some of photos and comments from across the regions.

Getting social this Christmas


Now is a great time to boost your brand with your social media activity – creating enticing imagery and glittery messages to get your followers into the Christmas ‘spirit’!

Driving your growth


Vineyard finds out how Kirkland UK prides itself on providing growers with machinery solutions – using the team’s experience and knowledge.

Jo C

specialists Hutchinsons offers specialist Viticultural agronomy advice, guidance on nutrition, precision soil mapping and soil health. We supply all production inputs and a range of sundry equipment for vine management, together with a comprehensive range of packaging materials. Our professionalism is coupled with our commitment to customer service. With a highly experienced Horticultural agronomist team and dedicated Produce Packaging division covering the whole country, we have all the advice you want and all the inputs you need, just a phone call away.

It’s our people that make the difference. TURRIFF



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From the editor

Growing grapes or growing wine?

The Vineyard


eroy d ow

It has certainly been a challenging year for some growers, but interestingly others are reporting excellent yields and quality with natural sugars approaching 12 or 13%. Weather conditions across the regions have varied, but we are in a marginal, cool climate, so it begs the question; should we blame the weather, or should we respect and understand our conditions (or ‘terroir’) and place more emphasis on correct site selection, suitable varieties, and good viticulture skills? Afterall the saying goes that the difference between a good farmer and a bad farmer – is one week! Speaking to one of our top viticulturists recently the phrase ‘are we growing grapes or growing wine’ cropped up, and another from a well-respected winemaker was ‘let the fruit do the talking’. I interpret both these comments as being faithful to the concept of terroir – and how wine is truly an expression of the place it is grown. It’s also a reminder of another common saying – good wine is produced in the vineyard. This raises the questions: How much manipulation should we be comfortable with in wine production? And where to draw the line with amelioration? This year DEFRA granted an increase in the enrichment (or chaptalisation) of wine for the 2021 harvest from 3% to 3.5%, due to what was decided as ‘an exceptionally difficult growing season’ – these are usually non-grape derived sugar additions to achieve an acceptable alcohol level that hasn’t been achieved in the vineyard. In my mind one of the most exciting aspects of wine is ’terroir’ – the environment surrounding the vine and its growing conditions producing its unique characters and its unique variations year-on-year. We need the skills of the viticulturist and winemaker – and a certain amount of manipulation – so that we don’t end up with something undrinkable! The right balance has to be achieved! I’m looking forward to some delicious (terroir) wines this Christmas and wish everyone a very ‘bubbly’ festive season.


Marden: (01622) 831423

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Plumpton Wine to host scientific sensory courses Plumpton Wine Division are rolling out two scientific wine sensory training courses as part of the WineSkills Program in response to customer demand. WineGB’s recent Training and Education survey ranked sensory evaluation within the top training needs. The two one-day courses that will run this December are: ◆ WineSkills: Characterising Wine: Characterising flavour, balance, acidity and complexity in wine (6/12/21) ◆ WineSkills: Wine faults: identification, causes and corrections (13/12/21) The course titled Characterising Wine has been designed to bring the theory of sensory analysis, with a focus on wine characteristics, followed by a practical application through a tutored tasting. Plumpton College’s sensory scientist, Dr Heber Rodrigues will provide the sensory training, looking at acidity, balance and complexity in wine and Sarah Midgely, winemaker, will provide the winemaking insight. Plumpton have also enlisted guest speaker, Simon Stockton, a judge for the Champagne & Sparkling World Wine Championships and Charles Heidsieck’s Champagne Brand Ambassador, to guide attendees through a tasting, explaining the process of what a judge looks for, based on these sensory characteristics. The second course Wine Faults is a one-day in-depth course looking at common wine faults,

Photos: Christopher Lanaway Photography

how they are identified, what their causes are and how they are corrected. Dr Heber Rodrigues will lead the sensory training to apply these skillsets which will be followed by a wine-tasting guided by Tony Milanowski, Rathfinny Wine Estate winery manager. Donna Frost, WineSkills program leader commented “We have developed both these courses in response to demand from the industry. As the UKs leading centre of wine education, it is important we are listening to the

industry and continually developing our course offerings. “Sensory science is a major sector that is rapidly developing across the scientific field. We want to ensure we are offering topical workshops with a strong academic and practical focus that wine enthusiasts and students can learn from.” The courses cost £95.00 each and will take place at Bolney Wine Estate. They can be booked via Plumpton shop Plumpton WineSkill Courses.

Furley Page and NFU Mutual to sponsor Taste of Kent Awards 2022


Furley Page Solicitors and NFU Mutual (Tenterden, Ashford and Whitfield) have been announced as joint sponsors of the Kent Wine of the Year category when the Taste of Kent Awards return next year. Furley Page and NFU Mutual will jointly sponsor the Kent Wine of the Year category, while Furley Page will also sponsor the Kent Food and Drink Start-Up Business of the Year award. The Taste of Kent Awards (#TOKA2022) are an annual celebration of the county’s best food and drink producers, organised by Produced in Kent. The formal launch of the awards will take place on Tuesday 16 November 2021 at the Houses of Parliament, and voting for the public will open on Monday 10 January 2022. Deborah Geering, a Partner at the law firm, leading the sponsorship for Furley Page commented: “Furley Page is thrilled to be a part of #TOKA2022 again this year to help celebrate and publicise Kent’s excellent food and drink producers. The county turns out an eclectic mix of produce, including wine,

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local meats and cheeses, ice cream, crisps, fruit and many exciting products beyond this. “We are delighted to be able to sponsor the Kent Wine of the Year category and the Kent Food and Drink Start-Up Business of the Year category to help showcase the delicious products that our local food and drink producers are creating.” Doug Jackson, senior partner at NFU Mutual Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield, said: “Our team are really excited to be announced as joint sponsors with Furley Page for both the Kent Wine of the Year and Kent Beer of the Year categories. The opportunity to sponsor not one, but two great awards that mean a great deal to us and our business is a huge honour. “A number of our commercial clients fall within these categories, and we are really pleased to support them and the other nominees at this exciting time. Our best wishes go out to all nominees!” The Taste of Kent Awards Ceremony will be held on 12 May 2022 at the Kent Showground, Detling.


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NEW VINEYARD NEW VINEYARD ESTABLISHMENT IN EAST ANGLIA & SOUTH EAST ENGLAND ESTABLISHMENT • SITE SELECTION & SITE ASSESSMENT: Correct choice of site is vital in the • SITE SELECTION & SITE ASSESSMENT: Correct choice of site is vital UK’s northerly winegrowing climate. in the UK’s northerly winegrowing climate. • VINEYARD DESIGN: Design of your trellis system and density of plantation • VINEYARD DESIGN: Design of your trellis system and density of plantation is offered as a standard part of our service. is offered as a standard part of our service. • PRE-PLANTATION ADVICE: All advice and organisation of soil & site • PRE-PLANTATION ADVICE: All advice and organisation of soil & site preparation works. • GRAPEVINE SUPPLY: All vines sourced through one partner nursery, preparation works. Proven vine establishment over many years. • GRAPEVINE SUPPLY: All vines sourced through one partner nursery, •proven VARIETIES, CLONES, ROOTSTOCKS: All combinations created to suit vine establishment over many years. your vineyard site and target wine styles. • VARIETIES, CLONES, ROOTSTOCKS: All combinations created to suit• PLANTING: your Planted by GPS guided machine, accurate to within 8mm. • TRELLIS MATERIALS: We supply everything, sourced direct from the vineyard site and target wine styles. factory to ensure lowest possible prices! • PLANTING: Planted by GPS guided machine, accurate to within 8mm. • TRELLIS MATERIALS: We supply everything, sourced direct from the factory to ensure lowest possible prices! YOUR VINEYARD WILL BE IN THE GROUND FOR 40 YEARS. GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME, WITH DUNCAN MCNEILL AND VOLKER SCHEU OF VINES DIRECT LTD. WE HAVE 50 YEARS COMBINED EXPERIENCE IN VINEYARD MANAGEMENT.




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English Nouveau 2021 After the Sixteen Ridges English Nouveau, created for Waitrose, sold out within 24 hours online in 2020, Simon Day, Production Director for the Sixteen Ridges range in collaboration with new Sixteen Ridges Winemaker Joshua Ravell-Gough, has increased production threefold this year to meet demand. Simon Day commented: “In terms of production, our Nouveau is made using similar methods as used in France’s Beaujolais region. For this Nouveau style, we want to highlight the delicious fresh fruitiness, and reduce the tannins, this is done using small tanks into which whole bunches of grapes are placed into CO2 and undergo an intracellular fermentation for a short period of time – a process called carbonic maceration. These fizzy grapes develop fruitiness and start to take on colour. Once they reach around 2% alcohol, the berry drops off the bunch, and releases the juice. The wine then continues to ferment in a more conventional manner with yeast. We then press the grapes to yield a lovely fruity easy drinking light red wine.” The 2021 vintage will be available for sale on 18 November from Waitrose and from the website

Equipment for Vineyards

Events Hub launched The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is launching the WSET Events Hub as part of a new trade and consumer events strategy. The WSET Events Hub will be hosted on WSET’s YouTube channel and will offer a series of events targeting the organisation’s different audiences: wine enthusiasts, wine professionals, spirits professionals and alumni. The format of the events will vary according to the target audience, from webinars and masterclasses to Q&A sessions and IG Lives. All the events will be virtual to make them as accessible as possible to existing and potential students across the globe. Attendees will be able to join the events live and all sessions will be recorded and published as on-demand, shareable content on You Tube – creating a library of rich content that can be accessed year-round by a global audience. WSET’s Head of Events and Partnerships, Ami Wilkinson, commented: “We are really excited to be launching our new Events Hub. This will enable us to deliver our own programme of activity for the first time and provide a 24/7 stream of knowledge for industry professionals and enthusiasts. The Events Hub will enable us to gain a better understanding of our target audiences and further develop our content to meet different audience needs.” Events already scheduled include: ◆ 2 December 2021: Fried, Smoke, and Spice! How to create the perfect food and wine matches with Bonnie Buchanan, WSET Americas ◆ 8 December 2021: Blind tasting the WSET Diploma way with WSET’s Victoria Burt MW and Christopher Martin DipWSET To register for one of WSET’s free live events visit or subscribe to WSET's YouTube channel.

HARVEST CONTRACTOR Our company has over 10 years experience with mechanical grape harvesting. We harvest nearly 600 hectares of vineyards each year. Our harvester is a high quality ERO 7000 machine with the new selection table.

Benefits: • Harvest a bigger area in a short time • With the destemmer and the new selection table we get a perfect grape quality • You can harvest vineyards when they’re in the third year • Unloading into grapeboxes

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To find out more please contact Carla Morris on 020 3201 3890 or The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested. Brewin Dolphin Limited is a member of the London Stock Exchange, and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number: 124444).

Preference for natural cork The World of Wine Quiz Book Test your wine knowledge over the festive period with this fascinating book of 326 pages with 100 quizzes of 10 questions each - making a total of 1,000 questions – and lots of illustrations. The quizzes explore iconic wines, grape varieties, wine history, wine culture and production, and wine trivia from famous quotations to Hollywood, politics, and even literary drunks. The unique nature of The World of Wine Quiz Book lies in the answers – instead of a single word, they are each made up of a paragraph, providing a 'mini wine course' of facts on diverse wine subjects, and making up about two-thirds of the book's length. So, in addition to having fun with The World of Wine Quiz Book, you can build your wine knowledge whatever stage you are at, from 'I know what I like' wine drinkers to wine adventurers, and even testing and acting as reminders for professional sommeliers, and other members of the wine trade. ‘The World of Wine Quiz Book’ is written by Roddy Button and Mike Oliver and is available via Amazon or Fairbanks King Books.

Wine Intelligence recently reported that, in the UK, younger legaldrinking age (LDA) consumers show a preference for natural cork. CEO Lulie Halstead says “Generation Z in the UK is more likely to associate cork with quality and could consider screwcap sealed wines as less prestigious. Millennial respondents have also shown a preference for natural cork over alternatives such as plastic stoppers.” João Rui Ferreira, Vice President of Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR), commented: "It’s really interesting to see consumers trading up, not just in terms of wine value sales but it seems that there is an inherent interest in opting for cork sealed wines particularly amongst millennials. Educating consumers and particularly millennials about the benefits of cork closures is one of our key aims and one of our recent UK activations has been our recycling partnership with Majestic to demonstrate to UK wine drinkers that natural cork is the best choice in terms of both quality and the environment. As a 100% renewable, 100% natural and 100% recyclable product, used wine corks have seen a second life in space craft, presidential gifts (including a collar for Barack Obama’s dog), high fashion – and much more besides. Natural cork oak forests also boast some of Europe’s greatest biodiversity and sustainable agriculture, retaining up to 14 million tonnes of CO2 a year. It’s wonderful to see UK consumers voting with the cash in their pocket as sales hit an all time high.”

Safety Revolution’s approach is both direct and personal and has engaged the whole vineyard team, enabling a full and thorough understanding of what is required to work safely.” Fred Langdale, Vineyard Director, Exton Park Vineyard

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USE PLANT PROTECTION PRODUCTS SAFELY. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND PRODUCT INFORMATION BEFORE USE. For further information on product hazard warnings, risk and safety phrases, consult the Belchim Crop Protection Ltd website. Vintec® contains Trichoderma atroviride strain SC1 and is a trademark of Bi-PA NV/SA

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A rather special eco-concept A unique and rather special eco-concept home set in a stunning, rural location. The main residence offers accommodation approaching 5,000 sq ft and is set in its own grounds of approximately 2.33 acres, incorporating a productive hobby vineyard and adjoining paddock. The Russetts is set in a private, rural location between the villages of Hempstead and Steeple Bumpstead. The well regarded village of Hempstead is 8 miles from the market town of Saffron Walden, which offers an excellent range of shopping, schooling and recreational facilities, including a leisure centre with swimming pool and an 18 hole golf course. Audley End mainline station is 10 miles and the M11 access point at Stumps Cross (J9 – south only) is about 13 miles. The ground floor consists of an entrance hall 13' 6" x 8' 10" (4.11m x 2.69m), built-in storage cupboard and a pair of obscure glazed doors to the vaulted living room. The vaulted living room 27' x 21' 2" (8.23m x 6.45m) is a magnificent reception room with hardwood flooring, minstrels gallery and solid timber staircase rising to the first floor. A pair of obscure glazed doors leading to the inner hallway and a further pair of glazed doors leading to an orangery 36' 11" x 10' 10" (11.25m x 3.3m). The kitchen comprises a range of solid timber fronted base and eye level units with granite worktop space over, together with a central island with granite workspace. Also on the ground floor are six bedrooms, one en-suite and a family bathroom. The first floor consists of the Minstrels Gallery, a cinema room, gym/studio, master bedroom with en-suite and walk-in wardrobe. The Russetts sits within its own delightful, mature grounds of approximately 2.33 acres, approached via a pair of electrically operated



gates, in turn leading to the block paved driveway and the front of the property. The driveway provides an extensive parking area and access to the garage. The gardens and outdoor space are a particular feature of the property, with a south facing terrace for al fresco entertaining. The main garden has been landscaped with various timber posts and sheeting providing an interesting and decorative outdoor space. In addition is a raised decking area to the side of the property, raised sleeper beds providing a kitchen garden, with an adjoining timber shed. To the right hand side of the driveway is the ‘hobby’ vineyard which is planted with over 500 vines and comprising five grape varieties. To the rear of the vineyard is a fallow allotment area, together with an enclosed, free-range chicken run and timber poultry/livestock sheds. A superb garage space 41' 1" x 16' 6" (12.52m x 5.03m), accessed via an electrically operated up and over door. A pair of windows to the side aspect overlooking the driveway and adjoining vineyard. Power and lighting connected and eaves storage space. The garage offers huge scope for full or part conversion to additional living space, dependent upon needs and relevant approval. It's eco-credentials are triple glazing from Sweden, 50cm thick, specially insulated walls, heat-exchanger air conditioning, solar hot water heating, options for rainwater harvesting and south facing elevation to optimise heat retention qualities. In addition, the property is installed with solar PV panels with a feed-in tariff scheme (16 years remaining) providing a generous income.

For more information: DESKTOP  01799 523656


Practical solutions for new and established vineyards • • • • • • • • •

Services we offer:

Including own hobby vineyard of 550 vines with 5 grape varieties

Vineyard Planning & Design Planting & Establishment Vineyard Management Field Training & Mentoring Benchmarking & Budgeting Independent Site Audits Yield Management & Forecasting Harvest Logistics Specific Trials & Projects

The Russetts, Bumpstead Road, Hempstead, Saffron Walden, CB10 2PW 07872 046 900

A unique and rather special eco-concept home set in a stunning, rural location. The main residence offers accommodation approaching 5,000 sq ft and is set in its own stunning grounds of approximately 2.33 acres, incorporating a productive vineyard and adjoining paddock. Three reception rooms

Six bedrooms

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Landscaped garden


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UK shines The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2021 (CSWWC), has announced its most decorated medal year yet, with a total of 139 Gold and 268 Silver medals awarded to 19 countries in this year’s competition. The UK was once again third on the national leader board, closely followed this year by Australia and the USA. Well in excess of 1000 sparkling wines were judged over two weeks with Italy top of the medal table, followed by France, and then the UK with 19 Silver medals and 7 Golds. The Best in Class, National Champions and World Champions by Style will be revealed at this year’s CSWWC 2021 Virtual Awards Week commencing 22 November. Tom Stevenson, Founder and Chairman of the CSWWC, commented” “Over the last seven years I have tried to encourage producers to focus their entries on potential Gold and Silver medal winning wines. That does not necessarily mean their most expensive and prestigious products. Yes, we want to taste prestige cuvées, if they have the potential, but if they consistently fail at the CSWWC and their entry-level cuvées regularly win

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Gold, then I try to persuade them to save their money and focus on their high-performing entry-level wines. Or submit magnums!” “Exciting quality finds like sparkling wines from Japan, Romania, and Russia, is one of the reasons why the CSWWC exists. Another is keeping track of all the established greats, seeing if they continue to come through the totally blind process with Golds, Best in Class and then on to Trophies.” Tom Stevenson continued.

The UK Gold and Silver medal winners ◆ BLACK CHALK SILVER Black Chalk 2018 Wild Rosé Hampshire, England (75cl, 12%) 51% Meunier, 33% Pinot Noir, 16% Chardonnay (Rosé, 6.5g RS) ◆ BLUEBELL VINEYARD ESTATES SILVER Bluebell Vineyard Estates 2016 Hindleap Rosé East Sussex, England (75cl, 12%) 61% Pinot Noir, 39% Meunier (Rosé, 7.1g RS) ◆ BOLNEY WINE ESTATE SILVER Bolney Wine Estate 2014 Blanc de Blancs West Sussex, England (150cl, 12.5%) 100% Chardonnay (White, 6g RS) ◆ BUSI JACOBSOHN SILVER Busi Jacobsohn 2018 Cuvee’ Brut East Sussex, England (75cl, 12%) 60% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 20% Meunier (White, 6.1g RS) ◆ COOLHURST VINEYARDS SILVER Coolhurst Vineyards 2015 Lady Elizabeth Rosé West Sussex, England (75cl, 11.8%) 100% Pinot Noir (Rosé, 5g RS) ◆ CO-OP SILVER Co-op NV Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé Kent, England (75cl, 11.5%) 70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 10% Meunier (Rosé, 10g RS) ◆ DIGBY FINE ENGLISH GOLD Digby Fine English NV Leander Pink West Sussex, England (75cl, 12%) 50% Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 15% Meunier (Rosé, 12g RS) SILVER Digby Fine English 2014 Vintage Rosé West Sussex, England (75cl, 12%) 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Meunier (Rosé, 10g RS) ◆ GUSBOURNE GOLD Gusbourne 2014 Brut Reserve Kent, England (150cl, 12%) 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Meunier (White, 7g RS) SILVER Gusbourne 2016 Blanc de Blancs Kent, England (75cl, 12%) 100% Chardonnay (White, 8.3g RS) SILVER Gusbourne 2016 Brut Reserve Kent, England (75cl, 12%) 40% Chardonnay, 33% Meunier, 27% Pinot Noir (White, 9g RS)

AWARDS ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

HATTINGLEY VALLEY WINES SILVER Hattingley Valley Wines 2018 Rosé England, England (75cl, 12%) 50% Pinot Noir, 45% Meunier, 5% Pinot Noir Précoce (Rosé, 4g RS) HIGH CLANDON ESTATE VINEYARD SILVER High Clandon Estate Vineyard 2016 High Clandon Euphoria Cuvée Surrey, England (75cl, 12%) 57% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 13% Meunier (White, 8g RS) NYETIMBER GOLD Nyetimber 2014 Blanc de Blancs Magnum West Sussex & Hampshire, England (150cl, 12%) 100% Chardonnay (White, 9.5g RS) SILVER Nyetimber NV Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage Magnum West Sussex & Hampshire, England (150cl, 12%) 58% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir, 11% Meunier (White, 9g RS) PLUMPTON ESTATE SILVER Plumpton Estate NV Brut Classic England, England (75cl, 12%) 72% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Noir, 11% Meunier (White, 10.8g RS) SILVER Plumpton Estate NV Brut Rose England, England (75cl, 12%) 44% Meunier, 56% Pinot Noir (Rosé, 8.8g RS) RIDGEVIEW SILVER Ridgeview 2015 Blanc de Noirs East Sussex, England (75cl, 12%) 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Meunier (White, 9.6g RS) SIMPSONS WINE ESTATE SILVER Simpsons 2017 White Cliffs Blanc de Blancs Kent, England (75cl, 12%) 100% Chardonnay (White, 6g RS)

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SQUERRYES GOLD Squerryes 2017 Squerryes Brut Kent, England (75cl, 12%) 30% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, 22% Meunier (White, 6.5g RS) GOLD Squerryes 2016 Squerryes Blanc de Blancs Kent, England (75cl, 12%) 100% Chardonnay (White, 7.5g RS) GOLD Squerryes 2016 Squerryes Brut Kent, England (150cl, 12%) 43% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Noir, 23% Meunier (White, 8g RS) SUGRUE SOUTH DOWNS GOLD Sugrue 2014 The Trouble With Dreams South Downs, England (150cl, 12%) 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir (White, 8g RS) THE GRANGE HAMPSHIRE SILVER The Grange Hampshire NV Pink Hampshire, England (75cl, 12.2%) 63% Meunier, 37% Pinot Noir (Rosé, 5.1g RS) VRANKEN-POMMERY MONOPOLE SILVER Louis Pommery NV England Hampshire, England (75cl, 12%) 62% Chardonnay, 27% Meunier, 11% Pinot Noir (White, 9g RS) WOODCHESTER VALLEY SILVER Woodchester Valley NV Reserve Cuveé Gloucestershire, England (75cl, 12.5%) 49% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 16% Meunier (White, 9g RS)


All the Gold & Silver medal winners can be found on the CSWWC 2021 website

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Joh n M o

s bb

In conversation... John Mobbs created Great British Wine – the goto website for the most concise and up to date information on English and Welsh wine – in 2015, the day after an epiphanous visit to the English Wine Producers annual trade and press tasting. What was the inspiration behind Great British Wine?

Which specialist retailers do you work with?

The website was born out of a growing passion for English wine. I was familiar with both Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée and Chapel Down Bacchus – these two wines were my introduction, and both captivated me with their lively acidity and precise flavours. I was invited to the English Wine Producers (now WineGB) trade and press tasting, in 2015, on behalf of another publication, and I was taken aback by the breadth and quality of the wines I tasted - I sat down the next day and built the framework for the website!

We currently work with Grape Britannia, Hawkins Bros. and Corkk. These relationships have mostly been built over the years – and it’s great to support the independent specialists who have put tremendous effort into building fine and diverse English wine selections.

What is Great British Wine’s mission? Quite simply, the goal is to provide consumers with the most concise and up to date information on producers and their wines. The aim is to have a well-structured resource, designed to particularly help those new to English wine discover a local region, learn more about the range of wines and styles, and about the producers. So, there’s lots of dynamically created indexes and listings based on all of the site’s content.

Does your day job help?


I still have a full-time career outside of Great British Wine, working in packaging design and branding in the foodservice and FMCG sectors, for some of the most recognised food brands. I think that this background has been hugely helpful in building a resource that looks aesthetically appealing. While Great British Wine remains a non-profit information resource, my visual and photographic flair has led me to do contracted photography work for various producers. Bottle shots have been my bread and butter, but I’ve also done some extensive on-site photoshoots for winemakers, including Denbies, Exton Park, Jenkyn Place and most recently Artelium. I’m looking to expand further into this field to commercialise my presence in the English wine industry – watch this space in the new year.

How do you use social media?

Twitter was initially the primary social media platform for Great British Wine to reach out to and link up with producers and engage with consumers directly. It has been a hugely useful resource, essentially free advertising space, to help generate interest and drive traffic through to the website before I developed a more SEO-friendly website. Instagram is probably my most active platform now. I’ve started engaging more directly, talking about wines and producers in short bursts for a Great British Wine weekly review. Instagram live has also been great to be involved with in the last year and a half. I would love to do a few more virtual tastings – getting the viewers to taste and share their thoughts on the wines in real-time is particularly engaging.

Who is your social media audience?

I would say our followers and audience fall into two categories: informed and curious consumers as well as people within the English wine industry and trade. Two-thirds of our audience are aged 18-35 – which is great as it shows a growing interest in wine and English wine amongst those in their twenties. Our audience gender split is around 54% male to 46% female. Ultimately what they all have in common is an interest in English wine! We have over 7,500 followers on Twitter and over 4,500 on Instagram. All of our followers have been acquired through organic growth and a lack of any sort of organised social media strategy.

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What is your advice to producers about the use of social media?

Embrace it however you can! My own journey into the industry would not have been possible without social media – I’ve connected with so many producers, consumers and like-minded people through both Twitter and Instagram. I think the thing that Instagram has is the ability to tell stories and bring the human element into play – often that is what consumers will remember even more than the wine inside the bottle!

Any achievement that you are really proud about?

Being involved in The Big English Wine Easter #BEWE this year. Initially born out of a tweet from Black Chalk’s Jacob Leadley, and now in its second year, I contributed by organising an English wine raffle, with a whole host of brilliant prizes donated by the very kind producers and supporters in the industry. We did a live prize draw on Instagram, which was a great deal of fun! The initiative collectively raised over £5000, which went to two great causes The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action. Another achievement was being invited to Clarence House and meeting the Duchess of Cornwall as an ambassador of the English wine industry in celebration of fifty years of the UKVA (UK Vineyards Association).

How do you select the wines or vineyard you write about?

The primary motivation is the quality of the wines and secondly the story behind the winemaker. This growing industry is full of diverse people with so many fascinating stories. There’s a real human connection to be found, and that’s what continues to fuel my interest. At a quick rough count I have visited around 60 vineyards – and I expect that figure would have been significantly higher had it not been for a combination of parenthood and Covid-19. I’ve probably ‘visited’ another 20-30 virtually through Zoom over the last couple of years.

What happens if the wine is not good enough to write about? I will only ever write about the wines positively if I feel they are of a certain quality. That said, I am not here to be a wine critic – there are so many respected figures who can do a much better job than me at that. So, my aim is always to try to be constructive – tell the story behind the producer and describe the experience visitors might get, as well as talk through the wines that I enjoyed. Of course, some don’t make the cut, but I always try to get a taste for each producer before I commit to a visit or any content.

Do you get feedback from the vineyards or wines that you feature?

Yes, and it’s one of the most reassuring things to hear. I know that people read our content, but what’s most important is that it leads to increased interest in producers and, ultimately, wine sales. People regularly message me to tell me they tried a wine I have featured; always great to hear. We also get good feedback from some of the retailers we feature. In fact, I’ve had several reach out to enquire about advertising on the website – which is something I really hope to get around to organising in the not-too-distant future.

Are you seeing an increasing diversity in UK wines? Absolutely – this is something that has continued to drive my interest and passion for the industry. What’s been most exciting is seeing how the quality and variety of our still wines have exploded in the last couple of years. When I started, it was mostly Bacchus, white blends and rosé, all of which producers have now perfected – now along with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier, Pinot Gris, Ortega and lots more. It’s great to see producers like Tillingham, Black Book and Offbeat wines continuing to push the envelope. Pinot Meunier is perhaps the variety I am most excited about in all its forms – sparkling, still white, rosé and red! I’m all for diversity in sparkling, too. I’ve had great English Pet Nat and Col Fondo, in particular, and the Charmats are really starting to take off, too. But I think it’s crucial to focus on differentiating these sparkling wines from traditional method English Sparkling – our ‘hero product’.

What are the challenges ahead? I think the biggest challenge is engaging with and educating consumers. There’s undoubtedly a growing pool of those interested in and loving English wine, but there is so many out there that are still not aware of the great things this industry is doing. There has got to be a bigger collective effort to engage with the sparkling wine-loving English public – especially considering the rapid growth in English wine planting and production in recent times.

Do you have a favourite?

That is a difficult question to answer! I’m going to cheat and select three favourites for different reasons. First up is the Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Chardonnay – a ground-breaking English Chardonnay that goes from strength to strength. Next up, a huge personal favourite, is Breaky Bottom Cuvée Koizumi Yakumo. Is there any other winemaker in the world who can do the things with Seyval Blanc that Peter Hall can? I don’t think so! Finally, I feel Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs is an absolute beacon of quality for English sparkling, consistency, and age-worthiness.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time is a luxury these days! Trying to balance a full-time job plus running Great British Wine is always a challenge, and throw in a beautiful but lively daughter… So yes, any free time that exists will usually revolve around time with Keira – or cooking and enjoying a glass of wine. I do hope we’ll have the chance to start travelling again next year, too!



Mat h e w

Goodwill to all wine lovers

es Juk

What would I like to drink this Christmas? DESKTOP ENVELOPE


I have decided to perform a radical U-turn in this year’s December column, so you will see no sparkling wines and no gift boxes whatsoever opposite. I am taking a stand against over-elaborate packaging, forever. Less is definitely more in this season of more is more. I can’t see the point in paying over the odds for phenomenally intricate and no doubt extremely clever packaging when all that happens to it, when you decide to drink the wine, is that it gets tossed in the recycling bin. This year, having been subjected to wave upon wave of COP26 advice, I am solely concentrating on what is inside the bottle while bringing in my secondary theme of ‘What would I like to drink this Christmas?’ So, let’s set the scene – you have the fairy lights blinking on your tree, you have already decided which of your English sparklers to pop first and you have knocked off half an hour from the agreed time at which this moment will occur because you are gasping for a drink. What follows is, if my household is anything to go by, controlled chaos where wellplanned bottles of wine are like Tarzan’s lianas – lined up in order and ready to grab onto at a moment’s notice. But what do you reach for once the sparkling wine has been exhausted? I have three wines liana-ed up for you to ensure that you and your crowd will enjoy a very indulgent feast. Each bottle is a bit of an outlier. These quietly rebellious wines are brave, pioneering and utterly delicious. I have a feeling that each style will rapidly grow in popularity, too, over the coming years. Firstly, this is because they are wonderful to drink and, secondly, they are styles that we don’t yet have in any great numbers on our shores and which we already know that punters adore. So, feel free to draw inspiration from Greyfriars, Bluebell/ Ashdown and Ambriel – these are all visionary estates with clear ideas about what works and sells. If this isn’t a message of goodwill, then I don’t know what is.

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2020 Greyfriars Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc £13.50

MV Ambriel, English Reserve (Demi-Sec) £33.95

"Would you like to taste our Sauvignon Blanc?", said Greyfriars owner Mike Wagstaff at the WineGB event earlier this year. Of course, the answer was yes, but I am extremely fussy about this grape, so I must admit that I wasn’t overly confident of being impressed. I ought to be more open-minded because I was greeted by a heavenly perfume when my nose was still a foot away from the glass. These are, verbatim, the first two expressions that I wrote in my notebook – ‘super-accurate’ and ‘Menetou-Salon’. 2020 was a fabulous vintage, and this wine is, without doubt, the finest GBSB I have tasted, but my mind was way ahead of my palate as I was mentally comparing it to the stunning wines of Teiller, Pellé, Remoortere and Clément in the Loire Valley. This is not a Kiwi-style of wine but an elegant, stony, Menetou-shaped creation, making it simply irresistible on the nose and palate. While we tire of old-style, fruit cocktail wines from Marlborough as wise NZ winemakers endeavour to draw their inspiration from their riverbeds and hillsides instead of the relentless sunshine we, in the UK, have naturally keen, lean and raspy fruit. Our conditions can make epic Sauvignon Blanc – Mike has proved it. And so, this is your smoked salmon blini wine for December 2021!

Corney & Barrow

2020 Ashdown Estate White (Chasselas) £14.95 It seems that Ashdown, aka Bluebell Vineyard, has realised that they have white gold planted in their vineyards, so they are renaming their Estate White what is really under the bonnet – Chasselas. Winemaker Kevin Sutherland is justly proud of this wine, and the new vintage is a revelation. This pioneering white wine, and I use this term in its rawest and most primal meaning, is made from a grape usually found in Switzerland, and I have yet to taste one from outside of this lovely country until I came across Kevin’s fabulous wine. If you would like to move from Greyfriars Sauvignon to the next wine in your festive feast, then look no further than 2020 Ashdown Chasselas because it is pure, bright, refreshing and intriguing at the same time as soothing and wistful. The fruit is so calm and silky, kissed with pear juice moments and cold pebble freshness, that you find yourself lost in wonder. It casts a genuine spell on your palate, and I want more. Lots more. This grape must feel at home in England because this wine is so damn good, and so it is another example of free-thinking, great taste and also mercurial winemaking skill. Oh, and Kevin’s a Kiwi as well!

Made from 68% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay and just the 1% Pinot Meunier, this single-vineyard, slightly off-dry wine packs 32 g/L dosage into its frame, but the acidity is so bracing that you can barely taste it. You simply feel a whoosh of completeness wash over your palate and wonder just how it happened. Unlike Nyetimber’s lovely Cuvee Chérie, which is made from 100% Chardonnay and is a genuine pudding style, Ambriel’s English Reserve manages to tread a tanginess/sweetness tightrope walk with extraordinary daring and accuracy. I am convinced that the Pinot dominance is the reason for this stance. This bravery ends up with a wine that could indeed be drunk with racy puds, but which I believe is, in fact, the perfect retro aperitif. I love a touch of ripeness balanced by wicked acidity before a feast, and there are so few wines in the world that get this right. Ambriel’s is my absolute favourite and I hope that others follow this inspirational lead.



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19/10/2021 DECEMBER 2021 | VIN E Y A 12:57:53 RD


Ed itor

Wraxall enters new era

Jo Cowdero y

Wraxall Vineyard in Somerset was established in 1974 and has successfully produced wine over many years, but now enters a new era. Vineyard hears about the visionary new owners exciting plans to modernise, renovate, and create a boutique vineyard producing high quality wines perfect for the tourism and foodscape scene of Somerset. Wraxall Vineyard is believed to be Somerset’s oldest vineyard, and second largest, even though it is currently only 6 acres. The vineyard was first planted around 50 years ago, in the 70s, but rumour has it that there may have been vines on the site in Roman times. The vineyard was bought by David Bailey and Lexa Hunt in February 2021 as a long-term family investment with a view to developing and maximising the assets. “The vineyard had been well cared for but now needs a programme of modernisation and investment both in terms of planting to enhance the wine, development to facilitate wine tourism and to ensure that the economics of the vineyard is on a firm footing,” explained David. David and Lexa have both run and grown businesses previously, albeit in financial services and not wine. “I grew my previous business, with three partners, to 750 people across eight offices in the world and sold it in 2018. It was at that time that Lexa and I started to look for a house in the countryside and focussed on Somerset – subsequently finding Wraxall Lodge – a 200-year-old farmhouse that needed renovation and situated next to a vineyard. The vineyard had been up for sale for some time and given the vicinity to the house we subsequently decided to buy it in February 2021 – seeing opportunities to develop both the vineyard itself and the visitor facilities. It’s not a large vineyard, but new plantings in 2022 will increase the area to eight acres,” said David.

The history


“Wraxall Vineyard was originally planted with Seyval Blanc, Bacchus and Madeleine Angevine in the 1970s by the owners of Wraxall Lodge,” explained David. “In the late 1980’s, Raimund

Herincx, one of the great Wagnerian opera singers of the 1960s and 1970s and his wife Astra Blair, took over the running of the vineyard. They added to the vines and planted a few Chardonnay – smuggled back from France by Raimund, hidden in some socks! Astra, a soprano and agent for opera singers, took her sales skills into the world of wine and Wraxall wine was served in First Class on British Rail GWR and at the Waldorf Hotel in London where it was a served with cream teas. When the Vineyard became too much for Raimund and Astra to manage they sold it and it fell into disrepair, before new owners in 2007 nurtured the

vineyard back to life. Whilst there is local hearsay of the Romans growing vines at Wraxall, we have yet to find any evidence,” explained David.

Getting expert advice

“Once we started to contemplate the purchase of the vineyard, we needed help and guidance,” commented David. “Firstly, to decide whether it was a good site in terms of location and climate, and secondly to assess the state of the vines and their suitability for the modern wine industry – as most had been planted over 15 years ago – and some even longer. Thirdly, we needed a view on the opportunities, or otherwise, to grow and

develop the vineyard and enhance the quality of the wines that it produces over the next 20-25 years. In effect we were looking for the sort of advice and due diligence you would receive from a surveyor when you purchase a house or a consultant when you buy a business,” David added. “Our research led us to Alistair Nesbitt and the Vinescapes team,” added Lexa. “Alistair and the team visited the site and did some detailed analysis, covering not only the vines and the micro-climate but also the financial aspects of the vineyard, producing a detailed report and giving us the confidence to proceed with the purchase. Subsequently we have worked with Vinescapes on the development of the wine strategy and future plantings,” Lexa added. With their strengths in business and financial services, rather than viticulture, David and Lexa used the vineyard management services from Veraison to guide them through their first season. “This has helped us to avoid some of the problems that I believe beset others during 2021, with us ultimately producing a high-quality crop in 2021,” commented David.

> Lexa Hunt

> David Bailey

The View@Wraxall

David and Lexa identified the importance of ‘paying’ visitors and the overall vineyard experience in their early plans. “The current facilities weren’t amenable to expanding the visitor experience and so working with our local architects, Orme, we have developed, and are now in the process of building, ‘The View@Wraxall’ with a planned opening in May << 2022.

> Astra Blair - then and now by the press – then (late 1980s) and now (2021)



Photos: Joel Jorgensen

“ We need to focus on producing the best quality grapes, producing the best quality wine and giving our visitors, the best possible experience!”

> The View@Wraxall


The new visitor centre and tasting room << with views of 25 miles across the Somerset levels to Dorset is designed to meld into its environment and be as unobtrusive as possible. The multipurpose building will not only accommodate the tours and tastings, but is designed with flexibility in mind, will seat around 45 people, supported by full kitchen facilities, so it can be used for a range of events and occasions. “The building is dug into the hillside – you can walk onto the grass roof from the back of the building – but still provides amazing views through glass ‘walls’ on the south and west side of the building. The wine store is ‘dug into’ the hillside at the back – taking advantage of natural cooling and minimising energy requirements. Similarly, the ‘canopy’ over the terraces will be made up of solar panels providing much of the energy requirements for the building, with any supplementary heating being provided by an air source heat pump,” enthused David.

Wine and tourism

David and Lexa want Wraxall Vineyard to be known throughout Somerset and further afield for producing some of the best English wines and as a place for having the most fabulous experience. “Wraxall isn’t just about growing grapes – it cannot be. We have only six acres planted today and given the opportunity to expand, probably only a maximum of 15 acres. So, we need to focus on producing the best quality grapes, producing the best quality wine, and giving our visitors, the best possible experience. To achieve the wine style, we looked for a young and forward-thinking winemaker, and have selected Ben Smith at Itasca,” explained David. Tourism is a critical element to the long-term financial viability of a vineyard such as Wraxall. “We are lucky enough to be situated in the tourist ‘Hot Spot’ of Somerset – 15 minutes from

Bruton, 15 minutes from ‘The Newt’, 30 minutes from Frome and 45 mins from each of Bath and Bristol. Not only are we close to other attractions we also have access to a large local population,” commented Lexa. “Without any marketing or PR, over 500 people have found their way to Wraxall in 2021, ranging from families, groups of friends and hen parties, local WI and Rotary Groups and of course many visitors who have been enjoying Somerset. The county has a reputation for fabulous food and drink, and it is lovely to be associated with such a successful industry which is growing by the day. “Obviously, like all vineyards, our cellar door sales are important to us, but given our location overlooking the Somerset levels, we also have the opportunity to not only give our guests the experience of the vineyard and the wines that we create, but also the wide-open skies of the Somerset countryside,” Lexa added. The old winery building at Wraxall, built originally in 1876, is now in the process of being turned into two holiday cottages. “We want our visitors to come and relax, rejuvenate and experience the vineyard – again hopefully to be completed around May 2022. “The reality of English vineyards and English wine is that to make medium to small sized vineyards economically viable, supplemental income streams are a necessity. We estimate that the revenue from the holiday lets will go a long way to paying the wages of our two staff and removing some of the risk from the business of growing grapes,” commented David. It’s very important to David and Lexa that the vineyard contributes to the local community. “We want the local community to think of it as ‘their’ vineyard,” said Lexa. “We have already created two jobs and there is likely to be more to follow as we expand what we do. We buy our picnics and food from local providers; we employ local

> James Brooking Clark and Stevie Potier architects and local builders to do all our work and we contribute to the local community in different ways. We have been very lucky in our careers, and we are keen to share and contribute back to our local community,” she added.

The vineyard

The six acre vineyard is currently a mix of Pinot noir, Pinot Précoce, Bacchus and Seyval. “We were

pleased with 13 tonnes of good quality fruit in 2021,” commented David. “Unlike other vineyards we were lucky enough not to be frosted - and this site has a reputation for being frost free. With the good advice received we didn’t suffer from Botrytis, downy mildew, or SWD.” “We worked with Vinescapes in early 2021 to develop a new planting and wine strategy for the vineyard going forward. As a result we will

be removing the Seyval, within the next few weeks, and will be planting more Pinot Noir – and planting Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay in May 2022 – to give the vineyard a new mix for the next 25 years,” commented David. The vineyard is managed on a day-to-day basis by James Brooking Clark and Stevie Poitier and guided by Veraison, a contract vineyard management service, led by Joel Jorgensen. >>


















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> Stevie, James and Joel discussing the soil samples << “I started in February 2021, but I first encountered Wraxall many years ago when I helped the previous owners with the harvest,” explained James. “I recently acted as project manager for some construction work here, and now I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work in the vineyard, and to oversee the new plantings and ground preparation work,” added James. “I started five years ago, with the previous owners,” commented Stevie, “first just to help out with the harvest, but increasingly to do more tasks. I really enjoy looking after the vines, I like being outside and love the seasonal nature of the work. The more I learn, the more I am interested in learning. My favourite task is pruning – it’s so satisfying – you can see the impact of the previous year’s pruning; you can learn from any mistakes and learn to project forward. I am also a musician, so sometimes I sing to the vines!” Smiled Stevie It had been a challenging year for many vineyards, but Wraxall fared well

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and produced a clean crop with good yields. “A combination of things contributed to the lovely and abundant crop this year,” explained Joel. “For starters, the weather in Somerset was slightly kinder than in the East and we were lucky enough to find the weather windows necessary for well-timed crop protection and nutrition. James and Stevie worked really hard and we were able to time each operation perfectly. They spent countless hours micro-managing the canopy to ensure every shoot and every bunch had its own comfy place,” Joel added. Together the team scout the vineyard diligently and proactively for nutritional deficiencies and diseases. “Apart from some minor magnesium deficiencies, we managed to keep the canopy spotless and vibrant green until natural senescence kicked in, weeks after harvest,” commented Joel. “Successful viticulture is all about timing; together we ensure each operation is tweaked towards the common goal of a balanced yield with perfect quality,” he added. Unusually the vineyard is still trellised on the Geneva Double Curtain (GDC) system, and the new plantings are planned to be trained on GDC as well. “I think GDC is really well suited to this site because the cordon is just high enough to be above the ground-frost layer. The shape of the vines and incidental wider row spacing means that any compaction from tractor tyres is kept well away from the root system and the taller trunks make it safer to allow some weed growth without compromising air flow or worrying about competition,” explained Joel. The low compaction and focus on soil health at Wraxall have resulted in a lively population of earthworms. “We were so pleased to hear the latest count of earthworms – an average of 26 in every single 20x20x20cm of soil, “exclaimed Stevie. “This indicates a healthy soil with a naturally aerated and permeable soil structure. There is virtually no bare soil on site and the diverse cover crop sequesters carbon and feeds the soil food web,” commented Joel. “And indeed, feeds our vines as well,” smiled James.

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Vintage 2021: North, South, East and West Every season has its ups and downs, influenced by Mother Nature and Jack Frost. This year shortage of labour and the dreaded downy added to the challenges. 2021 included blood, sweat - and probably lots of tears! But despite the hard work and sleepless nights, harvest is a magical time and a chance to celebrate the new vintage. Vineyard captures some photos and comments from across the regions and Stephen Skelton’s annual harvest survey. Each year consultant viticulturist Stephen Skelton MW sends out a survey to growers to provide some of the data, facts and figures useful for understanding the season and for benchmarking performance. “My summary this year is from data collected from 75 separate vineyards covering 360-ha of cropping vineyards, and showed an average yield of 5.24 tonnes/ha (2.12 tonnes/acre) with sugar levels at 8.75% potential alcohol and total acids of 11.84 g/l (as tartaric). However, these figures are from a relatively small, selfselected number of producers, and do not contain data from many of the less successful vineyards. This makes them less reliable than I would like,” commented Stephen. “2021 will be remembered by many producers

as a year with a late start, indifferent summer, and a problematic growing season. For some, this resulted in high levels of disease leading to poor, even very poor, yields. For others, much to their surprise, the late flowering coincided with good weather leading in some cases to above average yields. To hold onto their crops excellent canopy management, especially de-leafing, was required, plus effective and timely spraying. These measures helped keep disease, most noticeably downy mildew, under control, and growers were able to harvest clean fruit. “Whilst sugar levels were only very slightly down on average, acid levels were significantly higher than average, suggesting a good year for long-aged sparkling wines, and less good for quickdrinking still wines.

> 2021 harvest was a ‘all hands-on deck’ affair at Exton Park


“GDD (Growing Degree Days) only start accumulating when the average daily temperature rises above 10˚C. In 2021, this didn’t start happening until about 10 May. By the first week of June, the GDD were well behind the long-term average, although they caught up during the summer and early autumn. “With all this cold weather, the vines were held back, and despite terrible reports of frost damaged vines in France and other parts of Europe, many vineyards in Britain escaped frost damage as their vines had barely burst their buds. “Very surprisingly, despite the late spring with its frosts, despite the patchy flowering weather, despite the lousy summer and late veraison, despite the indifferent October, in many vineyards crops have been relatively successful. Several

vineyards have reported yields of the 2019 level (second highest of recent times), with fruit clean and ripe. Acids are high, perfect for sparkling, but not so good for the still wine brigade. Mind you, it wasn’t all sweetness and light as many growers struggled (and in some cases failed) to keep their crops clean and so their harvests are small,” concluded Stephen. John Buchan, agronomist, saw a distinct northsouth regional divide. “This was mainly due to the less extreme weather conditions further north. The north in general had less disease and higher yields. The west was a mixed bunch being quite late to harvest due to high rainfall, but disease was less of a problem. This year disease was more severe in the south-east with downy mildew hitting very early on. Yet again canopy management was shown to be of particular importance and early significant leaf removal of benefit. In addition, the supply problem of some products unfortunately compromised program decisions,” commented John.

> Harvest team at Hattingley Valley > Harvest action at Southcott

> 2021 has been all about patience, teamwork and volunteers at Raimes Vineyard

WineGB Wessex

“In general, the feeling across the region is that 2021 has been a long challenging year, but that the harvest has been a success,” commented Jacob Leadley, Winemaker and CEO, Black Chalk, and chair of WineGB Wessex. “A shortage of pickers provided an additional logistical challenge and many producers turned to local volunteers to help ensure the crop made it to the winery in good shape. In my opinion the long growing season has provided some great fruit, delicate and showing great promise for the future wines,” Jacob added. “It was an unforgiving year for most, a long cold start to the year with a number of frost events, before disease pressure became very high in August. It was a year where the skill and work ethic of the vineyard manager was really put to the test,” exclaimed Jacob. “In general acids were slightly higher than recent vintages but well within acceptable levels for quality winemaking, while our sugar levels were very good considering the growing season. Harvest was late for many, but the weather did improve and help to ripen fruit in those last warm and dry days of October. The shortage of pickers also meant it was a more drawn-out vintage for many,” said Jacob. “A very challenging year and one that has been hard fought by James Matyear our vineyard manager. In the winery Zoë Driver and I are delighted with how the wines are showing at this early stage, with all the Pinots really shinning, in particular. It was a long, slow pick and needed a huge effort by the whole team to get us over the line,” commented Jacob. “We needed as many pickers as possible, so when a very old friend turned up in the vineyard by surprise, I immediately gave him some snips and had him picking for the rest of the day while we caught up,” smiled Jacob. “Due to a shortage of pickers, our 2021 harvest

> Cobble Hill, owned by Robert Perowne, processed its first grapes this harvest

> Central England: Cumulative Growing Degree Fays © Tony Eva @englishwines.inf was a ‘all hands-on deck’ affair with our whole team supporting alongside an enthusiastic group of locals. In a challenging growing year, we’re very pleased with the ripeness and balance of acidity, as well as a higher yield than 2020,” said Fred Langdale, Vineyard Director at Exton Park. “If you survived the frosts in Spring, the wet and humid weather in Summer and held on at the end of the year allowing the fruit to hang, by the skin of your teeth, then you may well have had

an excellent year. We had great yield and superb quality,” commented Nat McConnell, Bluestone Vineyard. "The 2021 harvest at Hattingley was late but not the latest, the yield was on the lower side – but perfectly formed. No disease and completely clean, our huge team of local volunteers, assembled by our Vineyard Manager Colin Hayward, got the crop in safely and in record time. The Pinot Meunier was the star of our chalky Hampshire site this year >>

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> Picking the Rondo at Laurel Vines > Bringing in the harvest at Black Chalk

> Tom and Will Barnes, Biddenden Vineyards and Sam Barnes, S J Barnes with the Pellenc Harvester as supplied by N P Seymour used as part of trials with Bacchus at Biddenden Vineyards

> Largest yield to date at Whitehall Vineyard << and is showing great promise in both barrel and tank. We are looking forward to making some epic sparkling wines from the 2021 vintage - a bit like 2015, this one will reward patience and given time will really shine,” said Emma Rice, Director and Head Winemaker at Hattingley Valley. “This year’s harvest was our best yet, even though we had to push the harvesting dates back by a month due to the lack of sun - none the less when the grapes were ready to harvest, they were spectacular. We got the biggest yield to date, much bigger than we anticipated but a very pleasant surprise. We harvested each variety twice ensuring that during the first harvest we only picked the very best of the grapes for our single variety still wines, the second harvested grapes we will be using for our blended wines and sparkling. We’re really thankful to everyone who helped and can’t wait to try the wines,” commented Charlotte Self, Whitehall Vineyard.

WineGB Midlands & North

“Laurel Vines had a very good year, our second largest harvest to date – and I have heard similar stories from other Yorkshire vineyards. Nice clean fruit and plenty of it. A late start to the year saw us clear of any significant frosts, with bud burst in early May. August was not helpful and so a lot of effort was put into preventing disease, but September and October allowed the fruit to ripen. A late harvest, with the last picking date on 22 October,” commented Ian Sargent, Laurel Vines and chair of WineGB Midlands & North.

WineGB West


“There is no doubt about it, this year has been challenging,” commented Tommy Grimshaw, Head Winemaker, Langham Wine Estate. “However, through dedicated hard work, meticulous attention to detail and a fair amount of good fortune, we

have emerged from the other side of a very successful harvest. The late frost set us back and we didn’t have a particularly good summer with constant disease pressures, however Olly Whitfield, our Vineyard Manager, did an excellent job of managing the canopy to ensure that there was good air flow and as soon as the sun showed up at the start of October, we were in a position to capitalise on it. We picked late this year and sugars were a bit low with acids slightly high - but for me this isn’t nearly as important as the phenolic and flavour ripeness. We are already seeing incredible levels of depth in flavour which is due to the long and cool growing season,” added Tommy. “Another massive challenge this year was the harvest work force. In previous years we have relied on overseas staff to pick for us but like many other growers, we really struggled to get the staff this year. We turned to the local people here in Dorset - we called out via radio, newsletters, social media and even posters in the local pub, and fortunately we had a lot of success. The buzz around the place was exceptional, and we can’t thank the wonderful crew that came to pick for us enough – they really saved the harvest! “A huge amount of credit needs to be given to the vineyard managers around the country this year for their hard work. Now it’s up to us in the winery to make the most of it,” smiled Tommy. “As for us at Higher Plot vineyard – we’d have to sum it up as small but perfectly formed,” commented Guy Smith, Chair of WineGB West. “We got beautiful ripe fruit but downy earlier in the season took its toll on the quantity. The best description for the WineGB West region would be mixed - Aldwick Estate had their largest ever crop at nearly 10 tonne per hectare,” Guy added.

WineGB East Anglia

“The general feeling in the East is that yields are up, and quality is just above average considering

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the lateness of the season,” commented Laura Robinson, Burn Valley Vineyard and chair of WineGB East Anglia. “One slight struggle was trying to get pickers.” “Here at Burn Valley, we harvested Solaris at just over 100 °Oe (degrees Oechsle), with acids at 7.5-8 g/l. Our Bacchus was around 70-85 °Oe, with acids at 9-10 g/l, the early Pinot was 75-85 °Oe, with the Pinot clone 777 picked locally at 11.3 acid and 87 °Oe – very good for north Norfolk! “We had a cooler summer for sure, but the long dry autumn in Essex was a blessing for quality,” commented Duncan McNeill, South Bank Vineyard and McNeill Vineyard Management. “We’ve had a cracking vintage this year, with dry conditions in October and November enabling the vital ‘hang time’ needed to produce physiologically ripe fruit. We harvested still wine clones of Pinot Noir between 93-98 °Oe across six sites in the Crouch Valley. Sauvignon Blanc at 89 °Oe, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris both at 92 °Oe, Chardonnay at 89 °Oe. Due to the extended hanging time, some of the primary fruit flavours in the grapes were just superb,” Duncan added.

WineGB South East

“We had the late frosts in April, rain at flowering time, long runs of days with little sunshine and then warm, wet weather into harvest,” commented Julian Barnes, Managing Director, Biddenden Vineyard. “Harvest began 10 days later than in 2020, on 20th September 2021, but was swift as picking was complete in less than a month with the final variety, Gamay Noir, picked on 18th October 2021.” Julian added. “We very much work to the belief that winemaking happens in the vineyard and in a year like 2021, this is proven. We have a strong focus on agronomy, we’ve been meticulous about ensuring the vines have been at optimum health to ensure the best possible picking at harvest time. Picking

HARVEST at Biddenden is carried out by local people who work through each variety by hand, before being pressed on site. “This year we are doing some trials to directly compare hand picking and machine harvesting on one block of Bacchus – the first time this has been done in the UK,” commented Tom Barnes, General Manager, Biddenden Vineyard. “Ortega, our signature variety, is always the first to be picked, before working through other white varieties including Bacchus and Reichensteiner, then on to reds such as Dornfelder and Gamay Noir,” explained Tom “Despite being one of the most challenging seasons we have ever seen, I’m excited about all the wines we have in tank and how they will develop,” Tom added.

Welsh vineyards

“Vineyards across Wales reported a good clean harvest, though with low sugars on some varieties, especially the later ripening varieties,” Reported Oliver Richardson, Welsh Vineyards Association secretary. “At Llanerch Vineyard, Ryan Davies reported great weight and clean grapes, with 14.6 tonnes harvested. At White Castle near Abergavenny Robb Merchant had an above average good clean harvest, with harvest dates running a week later than usual and grape bunches were a little smaller.

> Picking at Velfrey Overall south-east Wales had a good growing season with a dry warm autumn,” added Oliver. “In Pembrokeshire, Andy Mounsey at Velfrey reported a similar story to that at Llanerch - with high yields, with the equivalent of over eight tonnes per hectare from Seyval Blanc. The fruit was very clean, but with lower sugars than in previous years. However, the yields of Solaris and Pinot Noir were much lower. “At The Dell vineyard at Raglan, the Alford family took their first crop from a vineyard that they have just taken over. They managed 0.25 tonnes from a

largely unpruned plot – the birds ate the rest! The grapes have been sent to the Mountain People winery to make an skin-contact white wine. “Mike Phillips at Blue Moon vineyard in Radnorshire had around a ton of grapes from Solaris and Cabernet Cortis vines. The Solaris cropped at 75 °Oe. and the reds 73 °Oe. The Solaris had to be picked rapidly because of the interest shown by wasps. Mike hopes for a better crop in 2022 as more young vines come into production and has plans for more vines planting next spring,” concluded Oliver.

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Representing you Working in partnership with Vineyard magazine for a developing UK wine industry. WineGB is the national trade body representing the vine growers and winemakers of Great Britain from the largest producers to small hobbyists. Our members work together with the organisation to develop strategy, expertise and marketing opportunities for long-term, sustainable success.

WineGB Winemaking Conference 2021

Places are still available for the WineGB Winemaking Conference on 29 November. The event will be held at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey and will feature talks on key subjects including climate change, protein & tartrate stability, FTIR analysis and sustainability. Tastings include a focus on PIWI wines, an exploration of UK canned wine and what goes into producing it, and a comparison of blanc de blancs vs still white wines made in the UK. Jointly run by Wines of Great Britain and the WineGB Winemaking Working Group, this will be WineGB’s first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic. It is aimed at the winemaking community; those currently working as winemakers, those studying winemaking and those with an interest in it. The programme: 9:00am: Welcome, registration and coffee 9:20am: Protein & Tartrate Stability – Geoff Taylor (industry consultant), Jennifer Lincoln (Enartis) and Sarah Midgley (Plumpton College)

If you are interested in wine production in the UK find out more about WineGB and join us. Visit our website

11:15am: Coffee 11:30am: Sustainability – Ian Behling (Ricardo) on sustainable waste management Duncan McNeill (McNeill Vineyard Management) on PIWI vines 12:30pm: Lunch 1:30pm: Climate Change – Alistair Nesbitt (Vinescapes), Kate Gannon (Graham Research Institute on Climate Change), Steve Dorling (University of East Anglia) 2:15pm: FTIR Analysis vs Wet Chemistry – Geoff Taylor (industry consultant), Rachel Rees (Campden BRI) 3:30pm: (1) Tasting: UK Blanc de Blancs vs Still White Wine – Simon Thorpe MW 3:30pm: (2) Tasting: UK Canned Wine – Jennifer Lincoln (Enartis), James Elliot (Greencroft Bottling) 5:00pm: Close

Tickets are available via Eventbrite: Alternatively, please email Phoebe French on


Photo: Matt Austin

DATES FOR NEXT YEAR WineGB has published the following key dates for your 2022 calendar: JANUARY


25 January 2022 Diversity & Inclusion Conference 27 January 2022 SWGB AGM


24 May 2022


18-26 June 2022

6 September 2022 WineGB Trade & Press Tasting


18 November 2022 Post-vintage celebration 24 November 2022 WineGB Viticulture Technical Conference

WineGB AGM English Wine Week

New directors

WineGB is delighted to announce two new appointments to the WineGB Board of Directors: Ruth Simpson of Simpsons Wine Estate in Kent and Wendy Outhwaite, co-founder of Ambriel in West Sussex. Ruth Simpson has been appointed as Group B director, one of three such directors representing the larger producers (over 15ha), replacing Sam Linter who is now chair. Ruth is from a well-known Scottish whisky family and prior to her 20 years in the wine industry, worked in international aid and development. Along with her husband Charles she also owns Domaine Sainte Rose in the Languedoc. They are actively involved in Wine Garden of England, the tourism-focused cluster of Kent vineyards. “I’m really delighted to be joining the board and see it as a real opportunity to help shape the future of the industry,” Ruth commented. Wendy Outhwaite planted Ambriel’s vineyards in 2008. After 25 years as a barrister, frequently working with government departments, she now produces English sparkling wine in West Sussex. She is hands on and hands in. Prior to joining the board, she served on WineGB’s Export Committee. Wendy stated: “In the most exciting wine region in the world, I’m honoured to be able to contribute. So much has been achieved. So much more is yet to come. Together let’s delight the world with our delectable wines.” These two recent additions to the board follow two other appointments in August of Guy Smith, owner of Somerset sparkling producer Smith & Evans, and Ned Awty, who is now working with his family’s vineyard Oatley, also in Somerset.

Join us

As the year draws to a close and a fresh start beckons, why not consider joining Wines of Great Britain. Our mission is to ensure the future growth and prosperity of our members and the industry. We aim to achieve this through education & training, working with government and regulatory authorities, developing trade opportunities, making our wines and our vineyards sustainable, pushing the boundaries of our knowledge through research, and using key indicators of industry performance to drive our policies. WineGB membership helps you to: ◆ Make better wines through our online and hands-on Winemaking

“We are delighted to welcome our new directors to the WineGB board,” said Sam Linter, chair of WineGB. “Ruth, Wendy, Guy and Ned bring a wealth of expertise from within and outside the wine industry. Our board represents a phenomenal range of expertise and experience to support our members and help move our association and the industry into its next phase. We are also moving towards greater board diversity. While these changes are important, it is also crucial the board continues to work towards a greater inclusivity and engagement with our members.”

Excellence programme ◆ Improve your marketing, and develop sales channels through our trade and export links ◆ Have your voice heard in government to ensure your views are represented at the highest level ◆ Understand your carbon footprint with our Sustainable Wines of Great Britain initiative ◆ Network with fellow producers at regional and national level for problem solving and social fun To find out more, please email


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per Coo

Vineyard sustainability: to measure is to manage

Rob S

In our final article of 2021, Hutchinsons Rob Saunders and Chris Cooper consider what the drive to improve environmental sustainability means for vineyards. November’s COP26 Summit in Glasgow once again pushed climate change and environmental sustainability up the public and political agenda, highlighting the need to address some significant challenges. Pressure to cut emissions and improve biodiversity is affecting all sectors, so it is imperative vineyard managers assess what this means for individual sites and identify practical solutions to employ. That could be anything from managing soils differently to establishing nitrogen-fixing species or flowerrich mixes down alleyways or around the edges of vineyards. As well as benefitting the environment, improving sustainability credentials makes commercial sense, as maximising output by using all inputs (including land) as efficiently as possible reduces the carbon footprint of each bottle produced. There are marketing advantages too, especially as buyers of English and Welsh wines are often more attuned to such principles.

Gaining recognition

Standards such as the Red Tractor and the LEAF marque have not been widely adopted in the vineyard sector, but the launch of the Sustainable Wines of GB Trade Mark two years ago can provide members with recognition for the beneficial measures they employ – indeed many vineyards (SWGB members and non-members) already follow a lot of the standards. The certification scheme applies to both the winery and any vineyards supplying it – large or small – and focuses on several key areas. These include the protection/enhancement of soil health and biodiversity; reducing carbon


footprint, energy and water use; and minimising fertiliser and plant protection product applications. Rather than prescriptive standards, it is based around the principles of “observe, measure, and record” with progress reviewed on a three-year cycle.

Start with soils

Improving soils is a big part of any sustainable land use for crops and is highlighted in the SWGB certification scheme, so is the perfect place to focus efforts given the interconnections between soil health, biodiversity, carbon capture and vineyard productivity. However, before making any changes, it is vital to understand where you are starting from and what you are trying to achieve. This requires establishing a baseline of current soil condition by accurately assessing physical, chemical and biological properties. Services such as Hutchinsons’s Healthy Soils and TerraMap high definition soil scanning are excellent ways of doing this, providing an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of soils and the causes of variability. The launch of TerraMap Carbon further gives a unique opportunity to map the organic and active carbon in soils, and use this data to create carbon maps within the Hutchinsons Omnia precision software to aid future soil management. Organic matter is at the heart of healthy soil and carbon sequestration, however there is often a feeling that organic matter continues increasing if you simply keep doing the right things. This is not the case though, as different soil types will eventually hit their own equilibrium,

and some, such as light sandy soils, can struggle to retain organic matter longer-term. Advancing the situation further could require other approaches, such as the addition of biochar. Biochar is a very stable form of carbon produced from pyrolising wood in an anaerobic atmosphere, similar to the production of charcoal. Unlike chipped prunings or other wood chips that rot down relatively quickly releasing carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, biochar is very stable and resists breakdown, locking carbon away for longer. It can also be valuable for improving the cation exchange capacity, nutrient and buffering capacity of soil.

Measuring microbes

Soil microbiology is another aspect that is central to productive, healthy soils, but assessing it to establish a baseline is far more complex than for other soil parameters. As an apex organism, earthworm counts provide a useful broad indicator of soil biology, however there is more happening beneath the surface, with a lot of unknowns about the interactions between soil microbes. A range of methods are available for assessing soil microbiology in more detail, such as the CO2-Burst test used by many laboratories, the on-site microBIOMETER, or the Eurofins SoilLifeMonitor test. Hutchinsons is currently trialling a number of these methods to evaluate their effectiveness and reliability, but given the complexities of soil microbiology it is unlikely any one test will provide all the answers. Talk to Rob, Chris or your local Hutchinsons agronomist to find out more about improving the sustainability of your vineyard and the tools available to help.

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Under cover at Haygrove Evolution Haygrove Evolution, Herefordshire, opened its doors – or rather polytunnels – to a group of agronomists and interested parties on 2 November, to see the progress of their pot grown, fertigated vines. A jungle of growth with a heavy crop of clean ripe fruit from a selection of varieties prompted discussions about producing wine commercially under polytunnels, as well as seeing how vines behave couped up in pots and living in a soil-less environment. The vines are currently grown in 27 litre pots, in coconut coir and perlite free draining medium in steel framed, plastic covered polytunnels. Varieties include those more common to warmer climes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. “All nutrients are supplied to the vines in solution by fertigation,” explained Haygrove Evolution’s Crop Technician, Cristi Marmandiu. “We control the pH to around 5 to 5.2, to maximise uptake of nutrients. We are still trialling different nutrient and irrigation regimes. As we have found that there is some dilution of flavours in the berry, we are considering reducing irrigation and fertigation from veraison, to see if this improves the concentration of flavours.” Cristi added. “We are getting an average yield of 23 tonnes to the hectare equivalent,” commented Simon Day, Production Director and Head Winemaker, Haygrove Evolution. “We have very low disease and have not had downy mildew or powdery mildew – but with a heavy crop we have had some incidence of Botrytis. The open-ended polytunnels are high and the rows wide enough to use a tractor to spray, when needed. Another plus point is that we do not get any damage or loss of yield from late frosts,” Simon added. “In the winery we are making

> Cristi Marmandiu, Crop Technician

the wine in small batches. At the moment the varietal flavours are sometimes lacking, which is probably due a combination of the higher yields, berry dilution and softer, thinner skins – so there is still some work to do,” he said. “At Haygrove Evolution we are focussed on innovation in fruit production and with these trials we are asking – is producing grapes under cover for wine commercially viable?” Commented Angus Davison, Chairman, Haygrove Evolution. “Production under polytunnel may supply wine producers with a reliable source of fruit or juice, to smooth year on year undulating yields, and provide blending components – augmenting the sugar levels, from outdoor grown grapes. “If you look at other fruit crops that are grown under cover, such as strawberries, early critics claimed that the fruit was insipid and flavourless. However, with research and development, we now have strawberries with great flavour that are grown under cover.” Angus continued. “We are looking at the advantages and disadvantages of growing under cover. So far, we have found increased yield and consistency in cropping, but there are large capital investments involved, even if the trellising costs are less. However, in the longer term, with a changing climate, this method of growing could be more secure,” commented Simon. “Aside from reliability of production, it begs the question - could you ‘inject terroir’ to mimic the soil chemistry, such as in Burgundy, for pot grown Pinot Noir under cover?” Simon smiled.

> Simon Day, Production Director and winemaker, Josh Ravell-Gough

Photos: Laurence Leat

> Angus Davison, Chairman, Haygrove Evolution

> Polytunnel with pot grown vines



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An overview from down under


As honorary president of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the intergovernmental organisation of which the UK is now a member, Australian-based international viticulturist Peter Hayes is able to maintain a broad connection with a wide array of issues confronting the global grape and wine industry, as well as with the experts within OIV member countries. With his experience mentoring the UK sector through the WineSkills programme, his elevated position and ‘birds’ eye’ view, Vineyard asks Peter Hayes for his valuable perspective on the UK industry.

What positions do you currently hold? Beyond describing my prime focus as ‘assiduously avoiding retirement’, I maintain a wide range of interests and engagement across the wine sector, including university committees (Charles Sturt University, Australia). I am currently the Presiding Member for the Wine Australia Board Selection Committee, which nominates candidates for appointment to the Wine Australia Board, by the federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management; am the Independent

Chair of the industry representative body Australian Grape & Wine, AGW’s Code Management Committee which encourages best-practice commercial interactions between grape growers and wine producers, and I am an AGW nominee to Wine Australia’ Geographic Indications Committee. Internationally, I remain involved with the OIV, particularly through its Commission 1, Viticulture Expert Groups and I am currently President of ‘Lien de la Vigne’/’VineLink’, an organisation fostering public institution-private company engagement, communications and focus on critical issues for the wine sector.

How should the UK maximise the benefits of its OIV membership? OIV membership is now across 48 members states, and additionally has several important observers, permitted to contribute to OIV work, although without voting rights. My experience suggests that optimal value shall be obtained by monitoring the emergence of key issues as defined in the OIV’s Strategic Plan and the Annual work plans, plus more direct engagement in issues which align with both the UK governmental and the UK wine sector’s priorities. Close, collaborative engagement between both shall make for a more coherent and effective coverage of key issues, especially where resources in people and funds are tight, and where coherency of views is important. The OIV is not a regulatory body ‘per se’ but as a scientific and technical reference body, its views provide an important foundation for members states when establishing their policy and regulations.

What were your findings as WineSkills Viticulture Mentor? I was the WineSkills Viticulture Mentor for five years, between 2010 and 2015, and this role provided me a great introduction to the UK industry – and it seems to me that the WineSkills programme ‘in toto’ delivered a very timely and well-targeted suite of offerings to underpin a more professionally based wine industry – or to at least, accelerate and widen that professionalism. There was palpable excitement around potential for the sector, and it seemed to me, well-placed. However, it was equally evident that this potential was not uniformly distributed across sites and businesses, nor was the stage of development uniformly balanced across vineyard production area and yield potential, winemaking capacity, and market development. It was, and probably remains true, that the sector is essentially production driven rather than market-led, so inefficiencies and uncertainty or unpredictability in the vineyard translate into challenges in the other elements of the supply chain. With a viticultural focus, and trying to avoid oversimplification, key issues were largely related to: ◆ Site selection and amelioration for frost-risk, wind, and drainage ◆ Pest and disease management, especially with reference to sustainability principles

◆ Poor and unpredictable yields, and interseasonal variation in performance ◆ Pruning technique, bud-number and yield targets, plus related crop, and canopy management ◆ Soil management and vine nutrition ◆ Annual and longer-term resource planning, labour, staff training and optimising systems ◆ Impact of vineyard performance issues on profitability and business sustainability ◆ Scaling vineyard size, and projected productivity to meet the intended or projected market demands.

Have you witnessed progress and development within the businesses and sector? I have seen a marked improvement in grower understanding of the potential for their planning, resource allocation and operations to manage and moderate the severe fluctuations in yield seasonto-season. This development has continued over the years since. However, it remains that many growers and managers hold a view that they have little choice but to tolerate severe variability and assign it to yet another ‘it’s the UK, with terrible conditions at flowering, this season’, when in fact, vine condition and capacity, in large part dictated by conditions of, and management applied in the previous season, have an important part to play. Seasonal conditions are well recognised to be of great consequence, but as managers, more could be done to mitigate the adverse impacts; education and training, professional support and accumulated experience are all of ongoing importance – as is industry-based peer support initiatives.

Are you currently involved with, or consulting to, any UK vineyard businesses? I remain in contact with my industry colleagues, associates, and several longer-term friends and clients in the UK, but given the state of our world over the last 18 months and constraints upon travel, I have resorted to remote engagement with video platforms. However, these have enabled delivery of reasonably effective and timely consultation, problem solving, topical webinars, and even the development of some training materials. Nevertheless, it’s not the same as being there, where direct observation of sites and vineyards, and engagement with people in

“Seasonal conditions are well recognised to be of great consequence, but as managers, more could be done to mitigate the adverse impacts; education and training, professional support and accumulated experience are all of ongoing importance, as is industry-based peer support initiatives.”

their work situations, does really make for a more fulfilling exercise for each party. From a broader UK industry development perspective, I also have the privilege of interacting with Stephen Skelton and Luke Spalding in analysing the ICCWS-WineGB Yield Survey and with Alistair Nesbitt and members of WineGB’s Management Advisory Committee for R&D.

Any words of wisdom for UK producers and the UK industry? It should be no surprise that I would advocate for a well organised and supported industry peak body (WineGB in this case) with a clearly articulated, and generally agreed set of priorities. Such a body cannot be all things to all people, scale and business philosophies being so broad, but the portfolio of high priority, strategic issues for industry development, should be sufficiently broad that all should gain net benefit. Going into some specifics, the industry has much to gain from a well-developed, and resourced statistical base, from which to analyse and interpret as a basis for ongoing investment and development. My observations of the low response rates to the ICCWS-WineGB Yield Survey indicating that such data is under-valued and that its importance across everything from planning, policy, and regulation to finance and promotion is sorely under-recognised. Deployment of such data might also see a focus on attaining a more synchronous or better balance in the investment across the sector, between vineyard capacity (better productivity, consistency, and predictability), winery, storage, and logistics (for sparkling still, and novel products), export and domestic market development, and vineyard/ winery-related tourism (oeno-tourism). A much clearer and stronger need for education and training, R&D underpinning innovation shall likely emerge and yet there is little recognition of the need, or even a mechanism, to invest sufficiently in these aspects.

Future challenges and opportunities In my view, the changing climate shall likely present as a two-edged sword, and shall require adaptability, ingenuity, and innovation to mitigate the downside and realise from the upside. I do see the UK industry continuing to grow; however, it must focus on returning (and for some, retaining) profitability across the whole of the sector. Currently, much wine production and marketing is based on what amounts to a ‘subsidy’ from the vineyard, given that yields for many are so low, that at prices offered, many are unprofitable, in their own right. As vineyard production and grape supply grows, especially if market development and retention of the current premium for UK product is not maintained, this pressure will escalate dramatically.



Getting social this Christmas The festive season is fast approaching, and locally produced sparklers are a fantastic way to celebrate with friends and family. So, it’s a great time to boost your brand with your social media activity – creating enticing imagery and glittery messages to get your followers into the Christmas ‘spirit’! Vineyard finds out some of the top tips for getting social this Christmas. Get creative

“Social media is fundamental to marketing our brand,” explains Elisha Rai, co-founder of the new rosé still wine brand ‘Folc’, based in Kent. “Customers will often check social media profiles of a product or brand before visiting the website or store, so it's incredibly important that we represent our brand in a way which is informative, engaging, and attractive to our audience. “Most of our wines are sold into trade, explained Galia Pike from Westwell Wines in Kent, “so for us, social media is more of a platform to talk about winemaking and viticulture rather than a sales platform. We do however intersperse these posts with a smattering of sales chat – especially at Christmas – which like most sparkling wine producers is our busiest time for direct-tocustomer sales. “Our Instagram account is an important way to connect with customers and trade – and communicate what our brand is all about. We post regularly with tales from the vineyard and try to keep our feed as an authentic look into our processes.” Galia added. “Over the festive season it is essential to focus on what your audience wants to see – be that inspirational gifting ideas, Christmas food & wine pairings,

festive giveaways with other like-minded brands or a '12 days of Christmas' advent calendar – where each day you gift an item or provide a festive fact about your product. This year especially people will be excited to come together with their friends and family to celebrate Christmas so the more you can show your product being enjoyed the better,” added Elisha. “Try to come up with some creative videos that suit your brand,” suggests Joana Albogas, WineGB Marketing Assistant. “Maybe share a Christmas family recipe that pairs perfectly with your wine or take your viewers on a behindthe-scenes tour of your cellar door. How about swapping wines with a fellow producer and having a live tasting! “The festive season is a prime time for lots of video content – use reels, stories and IG Live, for Instagram, which you can save on your IGTV. Not only are your customers ten times more likely to interact with a video, but social video generates considerably more shares than images and text combined,” commented Joana. “Earlier this year we ran an IG live which was brilliant fun albeit slightly chaotic,” exclaimed Galia. “We’ve experimented with ‘reels’, although only a little. I think this is something we should all be doing more of – according to Instagram, it's now no longer a photo sharing app!” Galia added.

> Festive meal – a brand partnership between Folc and Unique Home Stays


Run a competition

“Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time of year, so give something back to your customers by giving them the opportunity to win something,” suggests Elisha. “Running a competition is a win-win, it will come at very little cost and will help to boost the reach of your brand, boost engagement – and in some cases provide you with loads of priceless user-generated content,” Elisha added. “We're running a competition at the moment to try and create interest in our tours and tastings – a stroll through the vineyard on hazy summer afternoons with the vines full of promise is a different prospect to a wintery, muddy visit,” smiled Galia. “For this reason, we're putting the finishing touches to our tasting room right now so we can welcome visitors into an inside space. This current competition has gone really well with lots of engagement, so it’s been well worth doing,” said Galia. “Running a competition on Instagram is a great way to increase brand awareness, get more followers, and promote your selection of wines,” added Joana. “The key to a successful giveaway is good planning, so make sure to define the objective and goals of your giveaway beforehand,” Joana added. “We plan a limited number of partnerships and giveaways with other likeminded brands or persons, during the festive season and throughout the year, which really help with brand awareness – particularly outside of the wine world – and to increase social exposure. I also do IG lives before and during a product launch to talk about the product, brand and Folc's story which gives the audience the opportunity to learn more in an interactive way,” explained Elisha.

# Hashtag

Hashtags help you find and engage with your followers and also mean you can monitor the results of a campaign, using specific hashtags. “The biggest reason for using hashtags is for the increased exposure and discovery,” explained Joana. “But now instead of using 30 or more hashtags, Instagram recommends using only three to five. Think of a hashtag as a tool that provides context about your post and supports delivering content to people who are interested in a particular topic,” Joana added. A few of Joana’s tips: ◆ Do use hashtags that are relevant to your content ◆ Check what hashtags your fans already use and follow ◆ Mix well known and niche hashtags to broaden your discoverability. “Reaching your audience can be a bit of trial and error. If your brand is unique no two audiences will be exactly the same. My advice would be to create a large library of content with different themes so that you can test which ones work well with your audience and which might not be so popular. This is the same with hashtags. A combination of those with low mentions and high mentions may work for you, along with changing these every so often to learn which ones are driving audience to your profile,” commented Elisha.

Local markets

Christmas markets, especially for food and drink, are very popular - and they are a chance to buy and support local producers – and social media is a great way to let everyone know. “Shopping local is not only less stressful but also more ethical and sustainable,” commented Joana. “You can post a countdown on your Instagram Stories and create an event page on Facebook with all the details your guests need,” explained Joana. “If you have invited speakers or special guests, then tag their official pages. Then post lots of teasers! Teasers help build up the hype and provide your audience with useful information. Of course, during the event post lots on social media.

Sharing and caring

“The holiday season is about more than consumption,” commented Joana. “Why not give something back to those in need, with the support of your consumers. You can opt-out of commercial promotions such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday and do something a little more feel-good instead; support

> Elisha Rai and Tom Cannon at Christmas, thanking their audience for their support and wishing them a Merry Christmas

> Westwell fizzers

> Westwell in winter

a charity that reflects your business’s values and role in your community. You can even get your Instagram audience involved by using the donation sticker for Instagram Stories. With just a few clicks, Instagrammers can support their charity of choice, or help spread the word to collect donations from their followers,” suggested Joana. “Also boost user-generated content by shining a spotlight on people that love your products. Share positive customer experiences and include photos or videos, as real user feedback is seen as more trustworthy than company-driven ad campaigns,” Joana added.

Top tips

“Imagine what you would like to see on your own social media feed and replicate this,” Elisha advised. “The best social media accounts do well because they are authentic, so your audience will always respond to content that they know is reflective of the brand.” “Do use social media as a space to promote and sell wines. It’s the one time where you can really go for it and push your products and story without suffocating your audience,” Galia advised.

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Carbon neutral glass


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Berlin Packaging can offer any bottle, Glass any shape in carbon neutral glass. enables the working of the material at better temperature conditions; ◆ Aluminium oxide, which lowers the coefficient of thermal expansion, increasing the viscosity. Temperatures (approximate average data) Melting at 1500°C; Refining at 1300°C; Forming at 900/1000°C; and Annealing at 350/550°C

Raw material extraction

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Expand recycling to non-container applications







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Improve closed loop recycling of containers

Glass composition: Technical information and chemical characteristics Glass is obtained by melting a mixture of raw materials. The three main components in the process are: ◆ Silica, which is the vitrifying element (it melts at very high temperatures); ◆ Soda (sodium carbonate), which is the melting agent (it lowers the melting temperature of the silica); ◆ Calcium (calcium carbonate), which is the stabilizing element (it improves the chemical resistance of the glass). Other ingredients are added to these three components in order to obtain certain properties: ◆ Magnesium, that lowers the speed and temperature of the devitrification and thus

levels processing temperatures and improves resistance to water and thermal shocks. Decarbonise heat Other additives (nitrates, sulphates) are

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In light of the historic COP agreement of 2021 to reduce rising global temperatures, the importance of decarbonising many areas of the packaging in the wine and wider industries is essential to achieve these climate change targets. Glass is a superb packaging material for wine and has stood the test of time, it has a strong aesthetic and technical qualities that other materials find hard to match. One of the weakest parts of glass manufacturing is the carbon emissions involved in melting the glass in the furnaces to temperatures above 1000 degrees Celsius. Alongside, transportation and packing density post production. Excitingly Berlin Packaging has been making head way in this area and are now able to achieve 100% carbon neutral glass production. This is a combination of de-carbonising the furnace and energy consumption in production, using recycled ‘glass cullet’, analysing the packing and bottle weight with carbon offsetting with specific projects in mind to offset the difference. By de-carbonising the furnaces this means that bottle weight does not have to be such a feature of the glass packaging meaning interesting bespoke designs and premium packaging can still be CO2 conscious. I will outline the principles of glass manufacturing followed by developments in lightweight bottles as well as the study on Berlin Packaging’s Carbon Neutral approach.


Waste and losses Lifecycle hotspots that our recommendations will address 30 Material

Closed loop recycling possible

Closed loop recycling likely in UK

Likelihood found in litter

Damage to marine life if littered

Plastic (PET)




















Table reproduced from losing_the_bottle_methodology.pdf (

> Packaging materials comparison table: Material study on water bottles from Green Alliance has some strong parallels to the wine industry, for information purposes I will synthesis two relevant studies from Peake et al. 2019 and 2020,

Greenhouse gas impacts per kilogram of packaging consumed in the UK (kg CO2e)

Physical characteristics

Glass has distinctive features and can be considered both as a solid (because of its hardness, the ability to maintain its shape, etc.) and as a liquid (because of its isotropy, disordered structure, etc.), and it is therefore some-times described as a "high viscosity liquid". Between its extreme fluidity during the refining phase and the solid state of the finished product, there is the so-called "working range". ◆ Hardness: this is increased by calcium and boron. Only diamond can scratch glass; ◆ Density: this varies according to the type of glass. On average it is 2.5 kg/dm3 ; ◆ Fragility: this well-known characteristic is partly a result of its viscosity, which may cause internal stresses during the cooling phase; these can be partially eliminated using a particularly careful annealing process; ◆ Tensile and elongation strength: negligible; ◆ Resistance to compression: 40 kg/mm2. This makes it possible to use glass in the construction industry; ◆ Thermal conductivity: 50 times lower than steel and 500 times lower than copper. Glass is not a good heat conductor and this is another cause of its fragility; ◆ Conductivity of electricity: glass is a very bad conductor of electricity in its solid state (the glass used as an electrical insulator is obtained by using specific variations in its composition, since the presence of alkali must be minimised in order to eliminate the surface conductivity, created by the saline solutions that form between the dampness of the external layer and the sodium silicates – the white effect.

6 Aluminium has the highest impact per kg, but decarbonising production and higher recycled content would improve performance

5 4 kg CO2e

introduced in order to eliminate gas bubbles and improve the homogeneity of the vitreous paste, as well as colouring or decolouring agents. It is worth underlining that the decolouring of glass is not generally a chemical reaction but the result of a physical process based on the superimposing of complementary colours. With the production of flint glass (clear glass), despite the use of carefully selected raw materials, some impurities continue to be present (such as iron oxide or very small particles of chrome that give a yellow-green colour to the batch). For this reason, appropriate amounts of other ingredients are added, such as selenium (pink) and/or cobalt (blue) to obtain the typical "colourless-transparent" aspect of glass. Other frequently added colouring agents are chrome (green), pyrite and graphite (dark yellow), copper (red).

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By weight, and based on current levels of recycled content, aluminium production theimpacts most carbon intensive, followed by steel plastic. > Greenhouseisgas per kilogram of packaging consumed in and the UK (kg CO2e). By

weight, and based on current levels of recycled content, aluminium production is the most carbon intensive, followed by steel and plastic

Product: Name: Weight: Height: Regular supply chain emissions:

0.75 l Aurelia oliv 500g 272mm 547.0 kg CO2 ton packed glass 0.9% Group emission



65.7% Production process 16.1% Raw materials 1.8% Packaging 1.5% Logistics (inbound) 13.5% Logistics (outbound) 0.5% Disposal

Possible measures to improve carbon footprint: Type of measure Reduction

Reduction Compensation

Measure Use of eco-power in melting process Use of biomethan gas in melting process Investment in a climate-project (ClimatePartner)

Impact (up to) -29.9% emissions -163.8 kg CO2 -35.8% emissions

-196.2 kg CO2

-34.3% emissions

-187.9 kg CO2


"100% Carbon Neutral” Designed for wineries in touch with the issue of sustainability. The production is achieved by using electricity from renewable sources and a programme dedicated to offset residual CO2 emissions. Available in ancient green and emerald green, in order to maximise the recycled glass content. Patented model

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Charmat – your flexible friend




Some people view Charmat as the poor cousin of traditional method sparkling wine – even though the quality of the finished product is determined by the quality of the base wine and not the fermentation method. But Charmat also has some key advantages over bottle fermentation.

Packaging flexibility

With Charmat it is easy to respond quickly to market demands, as changes to bottle shape and bottle size can be made much closer to time of sale. Half bottles can be produced economically – and even the dreaded 20cl bottles.

Security of second fermentation

A stuck secondary fermentation in bottle is one of a winemaker’s worst nightmares. It can be expensive, problematic and often irrecoverable. However, with the Charmat method there are many things that can easily be done in tank to prevent this, such as adding nutrients, warming with ease, micro-oxygenation, and even re-inoculating.

Avoiding reduction

Reduction soon after the end of secondary fermentation is a common problem with bottle fermentation. The addition of copper sulphate at tirage can combat this, but generally winemakers avoid this for organoleptic reasons. With tank fermentation it is simple to monitor reduction and then only treat if necessary. Also the copper sulphite formed as a result of any addition will

be insoluble – and so easily filtered out prior to bottling – minimising the risk of excess copper in the finished product.

Post-fermentation blending

Although the Charmat tanks are under pressure, blending can still be done post-fermentation, including homogenisation of a large blend, tweaking of style or even modification of colour intensity for a rosé. This is something that is often very difficult to get just right for bottle fermentation.

Risk free cold stabilisation

Tartrate precipitation during secondary fermentation or after disgorging is another major problem for winemakers, causing riddling problems and gushing. Cold stabilisation prior to secondary fermentation has its limitations, as the increase in alcohol level during secondary (around 1.25%) increases instability. However, with Charmat this can be addressed by cold stabilisation post-secondary.

Precision on final pressure

Getting the pressure just right for bottle fermentation can sometimes be a challenge. The conversion of sugar to CO2 (and alcohol) is a biological process and subject to many variables. When fermenting under pressure in a tank, it is easy to vent off any excess pressure to achieve exactly what is required.

P h o t o: To

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Use of β-glucanas enzymes The benefits of maturation on yeast lees are well known. This can be accelerated not just by battonage but by the addition of β-glucanas enzymes and while not true yeast autolysis, it increases texture and roundness. This has been tried during secondary fermentation in bottle but with problems, as the yeast fragments released do not all settle down so are not removed by riddling and disgorging – resulting in major gushing problems. With tank fermentation this is not a problem as any fragments can easily be filtered prior to bottling.

True microbial stability

With bottle fermented wine it is impossible to remove all microbes at disgorging – there will always be some cells remaining, to a greater or lesser extent. However, with tank fermentation this is not the case as sterile filtration and aseptic bottling is possible. One implication of this is that wine SO2 levels can be dropped significantly, as a high level is no longer required to inhibit microbial growth. Plus, the winemaker is no longer obligated to doing a malolactic fermentation to avoid problems during riddling.

Minimal dissolved oxygen pickup

Unless the disgorging line is equipped with a jetting unit, dissolved oxygen pickup can be high and also very variable. SO2 in the dosage can go some way towards alleviating this, but the variability will cause a bottle-to-bottle variability in sensory profile. Counter pressure bottling of tank fermented wines is more controllable and it is possible to achieve levels as low as 20ppm. Again, enabling a drop in SO2 levels. The evolution of sparkling wines came through fermentation in bottle, then development of stronger bottles, ridding and tank fermentation. One cannot help wondering if the technology for Charmat had existed earlier, would bottle fermentation exist today?


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New students

> Jake Warren

> Manuel Cerdeira September to November are exciting months in the Wine Division, with fruit being harvested in our vineyard and processed in the winery. We also welcome second and third year students back, with their tales of summer in wineries and vineyards at home and abroad. We also welcome the new students. With this in mind, we focus on three of these new students; their hopes and plans and why they chose to study at Plumpton College.

Jake Warren, BA (International Wine Business) I’m 20 years old and a first-year student at Plumpton College studying International Wine Business. I first became interested in wine when I was 17 and wanted to learn more before turning 18. I began to find the topic fascinating; I jumped at the opportunity I got to be an assistant sommelier at a 5-star restaurant, learning more and continuing to enjoy the subject. Initially, I didn’t expect to come to


> Natasha Sousa Rompante

Plumpton College as I had just got a job at a Michelin star restaurant. However, due to the pandemic, that job fell through. I was so happy when I found this course as it felt like a fresh start and could open many doors for me into the world of wine.

Manuel Cerdeira, BSc (Viticulture and Oenology) I decided to study Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College due to the excellent teaching conditions for the degree and the fact that Plumpton College has its own wine cellar and research laboratory. My family has a wine business in Portugal, where my father is the winemaker and manager. Being the next generation (third) of the family and having grown up with wine, I was looking for teaching excellence, a degree which relates oenology practice to theory, as well as some related commercial aspects. Thus, I chose the course after several recommendations from former

students at Plumpton College in Portugal. I fully recommend studying at Plumpton College.

Natasha Sousa Rompante, BSc (Viticulture and Oenology) I decided to enrol in the Viticulture and Oenology BSc at Plumpton College for several reasons. First, I was attracted to the institute, as it has a fully functional commercial winery, and vineyard and therefore, would give me opportunities to be ‘hands on’ in the business across the year. Second, Plumpton College is the UK's centre of excellence for wine. Having met and worked with previous alumni, it was clear that this is the best choice as a place to study for what I want to achieve in the industry. Being a student at Plumpton College has already begun to open doors for me within the English wine industry and the depth of knowledge that our lecturers have is second to none. I would advise anyone thinking about a future in the wine industry to consider Plumpton College.

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Meet the people behind the wines

Ben Sm it h,

The opportunity to blend art and science, and fulfil his creative side, steered Ben Smith to a career in winemaking and then Itasca Wine’s vision for sustainability brought him to the 600 tonne contract winery, in Hampshire – and the chance to work with great vineyards from Somerset to Essex and create a full spectrum of wine styles. Why did you choose winemaking?

What are your top tips for a career in winemaking?

I have a creative side, so winemaking is an excellent, and very rewarding, way to combine art with science. I think the wines I’ve been most proud of have come from gut feeling, not trying to push or shoehorn something, but reacting as best you can to what the vineyard and vintage has provided. I believe that great wine begins in the vineyard and the role of the winemaker is to harness that potential to make top quality wines. I started my career in the commercial side of the industry, working for Sogrape – who own a range of wineries and brands around the world. I did a stint in New Zealand - and fell in love with winemaking – and Riesling in particular. Andrew Hedley at Framingham in New Zealand is a winemaking genius and was a bit of a mentor to me - that’s really where I saw first-hand the benefits of small batch winemaking and I’ve tried to follow that approach ever since.

Definitely get hands on experience in wineries and cellars where you like the wines, make sure you have an interest in the styles being produced and ensure that you can spend some time with the winemaker.

Contract winemaking at Itasca

What is the last English or Welsh wine you drank?

After working in wineries across the globe from New Zealand, Western Australia, Tasmania, Canada, Alsace and Châteauneuf-du-Pape I returned to England and made the wine at Oxney Organic Estate from 2015 – 2020 vintages. In spring 2021 I became Head Winemaker at Itasca Wines, a 600 tonne state-of the art custom built facility offering vine to bottle contract winemaking, bottling, disgorging, laboratory, labelling and storage services to clients across the UK. The winery is built with the environment in mind – it has solar panels supplying most of the power needs and a complete wetlands system for wastewater treatment. A key element of what drew me to Itasca was the vision for sustainability – lots of energy goes into making sure every facet of the business has sustainable practices at its core. We are already seeing incredible demand and I’m sure, with the number of vineyards and acreage under vines increasing every year, there is an undeniable opportunity for a state-of-the-art sustainable winery to thrive and grow.

What are your thoughts on the future?

I think the future is exciting and that still wine production, in particular, will gain more traction. With the right vineyards, sales channels and price points I think we can make some pretty exciting wines in the UK that are commercially viable. For most, 2021 was a challenging harvest and we’ll definitely have to build on that experience. However, we now have some very talented viticulturalists here in the UK, many of whom I’m lucky to work with over various projects – they really are the starting point for driving the industry forward.

I recently visited Emma Rice at Hattingley Valley and tasted through some of their wines – and the Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blanc 2014 is superb!

Do you have any spare time?

Not a lot! But I play a lot of beach volleyball whenever I get the chance, much like winemaking it’s a great community and has a competitive element but is always friendly!

The Penn Croft brand

As well as offering contract services, we also make our own wine under the Penn Croft label. We have launched a Bacchus and will put out a still Pinot Blanc in December 2021. The latter I’m particularly excited about – the wine is still a baby but has a huge amount of potential.



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Driving your growth

Visit our of our n

Kirkland UK, a family company established over 20 years ago, has a history that can be traced back to the 1800s. The company provides specialist machinery and equipment for vineyard and brand-ne orchard management. Vineyard finds out how the company prides corvus u itself on providing growers with machinery solutions –Ausing the powerful and robust 4×4 diesel v storage and load capacity, fully prepa team’s experience, knowledge, and problem-solving tenacity. Vineyards. Come & see it on our sta Vineyard Show!

Kirkland UK, a family company established over 20 years ago, has a history that can be traced back to the 1800s. The company provides specialist machinery and equipment for vineyard and orchard management. Vineyard finds out how the company prides itself on providing growers with machinery solutions – using the team’s experience, knowledge, and problem-solving tenacity. The Kirkland UK story began in the mid 1800’s when the current business owner Scott Worsley’s great, great, great grandfather Nathaniel Worsley set up the Worsley Carriage Builders, in Yalding, Kent, and started adding carriages for farming and fruit growing to their range. As well as the Worsley family’s own fruit farm, Scott’s father Philip started a company providing specialist machinery hire and repair, which led to the Kirkland

brand emerging in 2005 becoming a company in 2012 – retaining specialist machinery as its core business. Kirkland UK has now grown to become one of the country’s leading suppliers of machinery and equipment for vineyards and orchards, to satisfy every application and budget requirement – along with gaining an excellent reputation for servicing and customer support.

Keeping a step ahead

The current team at Kirkland UK, is led by Scott. “We aim to provide our customers with products and services that enable them to keep one step ahead and ‘grow’ in an ever-challenging environment – or in other words >> we make fruit growing easier,” commented Scott. “We listen to our

you’re inv to our open Thurs 16th & Fri 17


time: 11:00-16

Please join us for free food & dr demos, live music & discounted m at ME17 3NW / call 01622 84301

Kirkland UK, Griffins Farm, Pleasure Hous


AC TRACTORS Antonio Carraro pride themselves on producing versatile and compact tractors for specifically for vineyards. Focusing on the importance of having a compact build, low centre of gravity & equal wheel distribution ensuring increased stability, comfort and traction - especially on rough terrain and steep slopes.

reverse guide system AC was the first manufacturer in the world to introduce the unique reversible driving system back in 1970. Simply turn the seat/steering wheel/dash/pedal assembly 180° for an identical, but reverse, driving direction giving the operator optimal vision when using rear or front mounted attachment.

narrow width Offering a minimum width of 985mm, AC tractors are designed specifically to work in vineyards & orchards with a minimum steering radius & the lowest possible compaction. The even weight distribution reduces soil compaction within rows & avoids root damages.

low profile cab The pressurised Protector S Cab. Measuring just 1740mm this streamlined tractor cab protects the operator from the outside environment whilst being especially useful for use under low canopies and leafy foliage. This Protector S cab is suitable for Cat.4 pressurisation and fully certified. .

actio chassis ACTIO - the cast iron full chassis hosts the tractors transmission with a central articulated joint which allows a longitudinal oscillation up to 15°; the two oscillating ends follow the contours of the terrain independently, thus assuring stability & traction at all times.

cvt transmission Constant variable transmission allows you to change seamlessly through a continuous range of gears.


Min Width 1060mm

> Ben Devine (sales manager) and Scott Worsley (partner) << customers and have the knowledge and experience to understand their requirements and challenges – we will not be defeated and are always determined to find a solution to every problem,” Scott added. “We have built the business by responding to our customers’ needs – and by filling in gaps,” explained Ben Devine, Sales Manager and Kirkland UK’s viticulture specialist. “We pride ourselves on our excellent reputation – and we supply some of the largest vineyards in the country. We will spend many hours with a customer, understanding what they want to achieve and finding a way to succeed,” Ben added. Kirkland UK’s range includes the Italian-made Antonio Carraro compact vineyard tractors, “The Antonio Carraro tractor range includes specialised, multifunctional, and reversible tractors, the quad track Mach 4, and the new specialist Tony 8700V – which was launched at the Vineyard & Winery Show,” Scott added.

Unveiling the new AC Tony 8700V tractor


The brand new Antonio Carraro Tony 8700V tractor was on display at Kirkland UK’s stand at the Vineyard & Winery Show 2021. It is a specialist vineyard tractor and a finalist in the prestigious Tractor of the Year 2021. “All the Antonio Carraro range of vineyard tractors are super specialised for vineyard tasks, and not scaled down from larger models,” explained Ben. “The Tony 8700 V is the first in the range to have a more conventional chassis, with a swinging axle providing an excellent steering angle, as well as the unique hydrostatic Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), and a powerful 74 horsepower engine,” Ben added. >>

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To view sprayers in action see:

> Ben Short, parts manager > Dorian White, Service Engineer

> Lauris Cirulis, Service Technician at work in the service department


<< “The Tony 8700 V has been designed to have all the functionality and features of other tractors and more,” Scott smiled. “The low centre of gravity spreads the weight more evenly across all four wheels to reduce compaction and improve stability. It has a large clear area for tools to mid-mount on the tractor and the narrowest of the Tony 8700 V is just under 1m wide,” Scott added. The Tony 8700 V is perfect for narrow-row vineyards, it is versatile, practical, and precise, with a compact transmission. “The well-designed cab allows for ultimate driver comfort. Automatic functions from the Tractor

Management Control (TMC) allow parameters to be set for all types of work. Speed is independent to revs and can be programmed separately; constant work velocity is managed by the cruise control system – all these settings allow for optimal work ensuring efficiency and productivity,” said Ben. “One of the many features of the AC tractors for vineyards, is the low centre of gravity and good stability, making them suitable for steep ground. They are also very narrow, one model available is only 985mm wide and can be fitted with a Cat 4 pressurised spray cab. >> “Even the compact tractors have


<< good traction with four-wheel drive. Many models are articulated, including the 1.06m model, with superb hydraulic options. Manual or auto transmission options are available, using the CVT system. With the Reverse Guide System (RGS) models, the operator can quickly flip the pedals and spin round to be facing the implement. There is also an option to have tracks rather than tyres – perfect for very steep sites,” Ben added.

Sustainable and cost saving Friuli sprayers Kirkland UK are excited to announce that they have been awarded the UK agency for Friuli Sprayers. The Italian company Agricolmeccanica, (founded in 1960 and still led by the Tosoratti family) design and

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manufacture the brand Friuli Sprayers. “As vineyard owners themselves the Tosoratti family are aware of the environmental impact of spray drift and have designed a unique sprayer fitted with a recovery system. The two-row sprayers recirculate unused product which reduces waste – creating a more sustainable, and efficient, sprayer,” commented Scott. “From the beginning there was a mutual understanding between us and Kirkland regarding the urgent need for sustainable sprayers in UK vineyards,” explained Sonia Ortali, head of Agricolmeccanica export department. “We’re excited about our partnership with Kirkland who are a young and dynamic company, receptive to the technology applied to our machines and have a strong ability to promote them to the UK market,” added Sonia.

Compact and solid rotary mower with swivel arms. lightweight and extremely ergonomic

Mechanical weed control

FR-EVO Undervine line mower with patented 15m single line spools for individual adjustment of each line


K2-D Extremely stable and lightweight for maximum payload: the most advanced forklift in the sector >>

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KIRKLAND UK << “Kirkland UK also supply the Orizzonti range of soil cultivation, weed management, pre-pruning, trimming and leaf removal equipment,” added Ben.

Choosing Kirkland

“We are a young team, passionate, dedicated and highly engaged in all the machinery and equipment. We never sell an item that won’t work – and we do everything we can to find the right solution. We carry out demonstrations and have a wide range of stock for customers to try. We understand that equipment and machinery is expensive – and a big decision – so we aim to get it right. We have the knowledge and experience to provide the customer with confidence to make the right decision,” explained Scott. “We like to see ourselves as a machinery solutions provider, able to source appropriate equipment for our customers,” added Ben.

“We also have the mantra that any piece of equipment or machinery is only as good as its back up service – and we will be there to support customers when needed. Our service engineers are always on hand, so customers do not feel abandoned,” said Ben.

The future

Kirkland UK is a forward-thinking company keen to embrace new technologies. “We never stand still, we are always travelling to expos around Europe and keeping in touch with the latest developments,” commented Scott. “I expect we will see, in the not-too-distant future, the exciting transition to hybrid and electric tractors,” he added. “With the pressure on access to labour, we are always striving to find ways to help our customers, so we will be expanding our range of laboursaving equipment, such as pre-pruners and leaf removers,” said Ben. “We are also hoping to add machine harvesters to our range soon– and we have been looking at a super self-propelled model.” “We like to build long term relationships and want to continue to provide for all our customers’ needs going forward; Kirkland UK are growing too, and we are always looking for the right people to join our team,” added Scott.

Save the date for the annual open day!

Kirkland UK will be hosting their annual open days on Thursday 16 December and Friday 17 December from 11am to 4pm, at their site in Kent, where visitors can try out the new machinery. There will be exclusive machinery discounts throughout the two days – along with complimentary food and drink. “It’s a great time to catch up with existing customers, as well as check out what innovative machines are new on the market!” Said Scott.

Contact Ben Devine, Sales Manager, Kirkland UK on 01622 843013 or visit the website

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grand reveal at the vineyard show Visit our stand at the vineyard show for the grand reveal of our newest product. Never before seen in the UK...!

time: 12:45pm


corvus utv A powerful and robust 4×4 diesel vehicle, generous storage and load capacity, fully prepared to excel in all Vineyards. Come & see it on our stand at this year’s Vineyard Show!

pruning & cultivating equipment We have a wide variety of robust and reliable cultivating equipment including inter-row cultivators, subsoilers & power harrows.

you’re invited to our open days! Thurs 16th & Fri 17 december th

time: 11:00-16:00

Please join us for free food & drink, machinery demos, live music & discounted machinery! Find us at ME17 3NW / call 01622 843013 for more info.

scan & register to receive your free gift!

Kirkland UK, Griffins Farm, Pleasure House Lane Maidstone, ME17 3NW. Tel. 01622 843013 E.



Haynes Agri




RICHARD SMITH 07483 035922

Vitifruit Equipment Sales and Hire







/vitifruitequipment D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 1 | V I N E YA R D


 01732 866567

vid Sayell & a D

c ha Ri

rd Witt


The machine hire option The shortage of labour this season has highlighted the need for equipment to do the jobs normally done by hand. Many of these jobs can be done with the right kit but some of it is expensive so firms like Vitifruit Equipment offer a hire service to reduce costs. The past summer season saw an increase in the use of de-leafers and trimmers and the current winter season is building up to be a busy one with the Provitis pre-pruner and cane pulling out machine VSE 430. Finding a competent operator can be a problem but there are an increasing number of contractors supplying drivers and Vitifruit Equipment offer training in the field with their hire kit for those willing to learn.





Rycote Lane Farm, Milton Common, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2NZ Godfrey Drive, Overfield Park, Winthorpe, Newark upon Trent, NG24 2UA Coldridge Copse, Shefford Woodlands, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 7BP Wharf Farm, Coventry, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 0NB Holmbush House, Holmbush Ind. Est., Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9XY London Road, Twyford, Reading, Berkshire, RG10 9EQ

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01252 279 830

“Enartis, 40 Years of Stabilising Effectiveness”

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