Winter months in the winery and vineyard
Even in the deepest winter days, you will see a team of vineyard workers in the heart of the vineyard. The Vineyard team are now in full swing with the pruning, some three weeks in now and another couple of months to go. This cold weather is extremely good for the vineyard as it ripens off the pruning canes which prevents any open wounds being susceptible to disease. The cold weather ensures that any potential carry over of winter pests are naturally eradicated before the new season starts.
The pruning starts at the top end of vineyard (Yew Tree Field) and the team gradually work their way down. The minimal pruned Muller Thurgau in the limes will be left to the last minute, around May. The never ending job of trellis repairs is also under way, replacing older and damaged trellis where needed.
Winter machinery maintenance is also almost complete which includes the servicing of the tractors and picking machine ready for the coming season.
In the winery, (which incidentally at this time of the year is freezing!), disgorging of the sparkling wines is taking place, commencing with Whitedowns. Surrey Gold will be bottled in February and limited editions of smaller parcels of wines will be labelled in house.
The sparkling bottling machine is brought over from France twice a year in March and May. This gives a longer period for the wine makers to prepare the wines, and better organise the cellar for the large volumes of sparkling, normally in the region of 175,000 bottles per annun.
The period in between harvest is dedicated to blending, filtering and ensuring that the wines will be ready to be consumed in perfect condition. Supplying the technical information for the winery records and helping to write wine descriptions and tasting notes is also part of the wine maker’s role.
General maintenance in the winery is also undertaken, repairing broken equipment from the intense 6 week window of harvest, sousing barrels etc.
(vineyard photo credit Martin Cox)