Following the unexpectedly late spring frost of 26th April, the vineyard has recovered remarkably well, aided by some wonderfully hot sunny weather throughout late May, June and July.
There is no hiding from the fact that the harvest will be smaller this year as a result of the frost damage, however the recovery growth has been much better than expected. Areas of the vineyard from which we had not expected to harvest any grapes at all, have indeed produced fruit despite the frost.
Due to the hot weather, our vines started the pollination process two weeks earlier than ‘normal’ – having set their fruit before the Wimbledon tennis championships even started. Normally, we expect the pollination process to start during the middle of Wimbledon. This means that the grapes will have more time to ripen at the end of the summer, which may enable us to produce wines of the outstanding quality that were produced from the 2016 vintage.
Chardonnay on the Hillside (pictured below)
Our newest plantings, installed on the steep hillside slopes this May are also doing very well, and benefiting from the sunny weather which has been interspersed with rain showers – ideal growing conditions for baby vines. These new plantings signify a return to the very steep slopes which had not been farmed for a number years. These steep vineyards are very difficult to manage, but the effort is worthwhile when one tastes the intensely flavoured wines which can be produced from the grapes which have basked in the intense heat generated on the steep south facing hillside slope.
Prepared by Duncan McNeill Viticulturist – Denbies Wine Estate