We are currently in the midst of harvest at Sharpham and 2019 has been an interesting year; and no matter what, people will always make comparisons to last year’s outstanding quality and quantity of fruit.
For starters, there was no heavy snowfall to contend with this year, in fact quite the opposite as temperatures were unusually high in late February which began to gently awaken the vines after their winter dormancy.
This can be a hazard because the earlier the vines spring back into life, the bigger the window in which they are prone to spring frost damage. Fortunately temperatures were very up and down and this just kept the vine sap at bay ensuring they burst bud in early April.
Flowering took place in perfectly dry and breezy conditions which is key as the vines are self pollinating and therefore rely on the wind to distribute their pollen. The potential crop looked huge because of this and mirrored last year’s size.
Although not as consistently hot and dry as 2018, this year has been very good in the vineyard with slightly higher rainfall helping the vines along. We subsequently started harvesting our early-ripening variety Madeleine Angevine on 20th September and at levels of ripeness that even surpassed last year’s in some parts of the vineyard!
As we progress we’ve now picked all of our early ripening clone of Pinot Noir (also very good quality) and our Bacchus on 8th October. As everyone has surely noticed, the Indian Summer hasn’t shown up this year so the final push towards ripening the remainder of our fruit is going to be tough but certainly not out of reach! We’ve harvested into November before and the looming prospect of a repeat is becoming more likely as the rain keeps falling… fortunately the fruit is looking very clean despite the rain so we are optimistic.