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The rare October Indian summer will produce a “vintage to be treasured” for some producers, but it’s not been without problems for others.
Chris White, general manager, Denbies Wine Estate, in Dorking said it has been a real boost for the winery, as normally in October it has to be careful of wet weather softening the fruit.
“But this year we have slowed down picking to benefit from rising sugar levels, which have gone up dramatically.
“It’s been the best year we’ve ever known quality wise and I’ll be surprised if we don’t win a few awards for 2011.”
Guy Tresnan sales & marketing director, Chapel Down Wines said, it’s a real plus with sugar levels right up, giving higher alcohol levels and reduced acidity.
“It gives us more options to play with. Last year picking took place in lashing rain, this year they’re all out in tee-shirts.”
Elsewhere in the country the heatwave has had a mixed response.
Bob Lindo, owner of Camel Valley, Cornwall, said: “We’re used to high acidity levels here, that’s why we make sparkling wine, ideally we like a total of 8g, but we’re struggling to achieve that.
“It’s been tricky and challenging vintage, we’re having to be clever.
“We are very lucky to have a fully automatic cooling system on every tank, some grapes came in at 25C and without a cooling system ferments would have over-heated.”
At Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire, grapes have suffered from poor moisture this year as the south-west of the country has reportedly had 50% less rainfall than the south-east.
“The hot weather has helped the quality and sugar levels,” said Martin Fowke winemaker and production director.
“But one of the problems for us has been lack of moisture throughout the summer, it has meant the grapes are small and we have a below average sized harvest.”
“But, he added, “the quality is incredible.”
Mike Roberts, founder and director of Ridgeview Wines, Sussex, said: “The quality of 2011 will be of extremely high, wines to watch out for when they hit the market in a few years time, it’s a vintage sure to be treasured.”
Story by Carol Emmas
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review