I think when people imagine what happens in the wine industry, they think of lots of tastings, long lunches, and picking grapes. Let us assure you that the reality is quite different. It’s an industry built on hard work, long hours, physical work and late nights. But we wouldn't have it any other way. There are however a few perks to the job, one of which is to create our wines from the work that was put in in the vineyard from the previous year. We recently visited our winemaking team to assess how the 2020 vintage was looking for our wines…
When we use the term vintage, we are simply referring to the growing season in that specific year. Our harvest is normally in late September into October when we start to look at the natural sugar levels in the grapes and the acidity. When the grapes reach the optimal levels that signals the time to harvest. Our grapes are then delivered that day to the winery and our winemaking team begin the process of production. We work with a winery called half penny green who are based near Wolverhampton. We have worked with them since the start of our wine journey.
The first thing that they provide us with is the amount of litres of wine that we have in the tanks at the winery. We plant a number of grape varieties on our farm which we use to create and blend our wines. Each year is different because the weather plays a key factor. The 2020 vintage saw a very warm Spring which saw the vines start to grow very early. There was a late Spring frost which saw us lose part fo the harvest to frost. If there is one thing vines don’t like its frost. The Summer was challenging. We would have 4-5 days of glorious Sun followed by days of down pours of rain. The lack of consistency made it challenging, but the last bits of Sun meant we ended up picking a significantly larger crop than in 2019. So sat with the winemaking team we knew that we would be able to produce more wine in 2020 than we did in 2019. The question as always is how is the quality.
Well let me assure you. 2020 is very exciting and the quality is excellent. With our winemakers Ben & James we set about tasting the wines we have in the tanks. We assess how much we feel we will need to cover what we will sell and what we will need for our weddings and events. And from the amount of litres of wine we sit with the calculator and our tasting glasses and create the wines.
So 2020 has lovely natural sugars inside the grapes. The result is that the wines taste incredibly fresh and with great balance. We taste blends similar to 2019 vintage at first and then tweak the blends based upon the volume of wine we have in tank from that vintage. The thing that stood out, (not to blow our own trumpet) is the balance and length of flavours in our wines. One of our winemakers Ben, said that he felt some of our tanks were the best in the winery. It’s a very nice feeling to know that the hard work than Estate Manager Tom puts into making sure of vines are well cared for is having such a positive effect at the key part. The blends took us nearly 4 hours to put together, but it was worth it.
The support that we have had for the wines has been incredible. We feel that each year we meet the challenges the vintage provides for us and strive to make the best wine we can. Whilst we can’t wait to share all of our 2020 wines with you we are particularly excited by the James’ View and the Poppy Hill Rose. The James’ View will be in limited supply, but the quality is truly exceptional. Its aromatic, fresh, brimming with zesty fruit flavours and has beautiful length and elegance. The Rose strikes the perfect balance of ripe summer fruits and a crisp, light finish. Its going to be the perfect garden rose for the garden and those BBQ’s.
We are putting together detailed tasting notes of our wines at the moment. We also have a new wine to share with you this year. It has been something our family has worked on together. It represents our shared passion for great wine and the work we do with our winemaking team. What’s the wine about? Well for now this is our secret.