Best ever year for English wine

Camel Valley winemaker Bob Lindo predicts English 2018 harvest will be “biggest on record”, joining a chorus of other excited winemakers.

Bob told Novel Wines that harvest for Camel Valley Bacchus could start as early as 10 September this year, while Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would be picked around 1 October.

“I’m grateful for the weather for both styles of our wines,” Bob said, referring to the world-class sparkling and still wine made at the Cornish estate. “As we’re picking earlier we have better travel conditions and fewer worries. The yields are up from 2014, which was our biggest ever vintage to date, so I’m expecting a big year in 2018.”

Demand from UK consumers is also up with Bob saying he is now ‘less keen’ on export markets, especially after visiting ProWein wine festival in Germany and discovering how desperate the world was to get into the UK. “We’ve got a big market of wine lovers here, right in front of us. Since winning the Royal Warrant, which was one of our all-time highlights, we have been incredibly popular for tours and domestic sales.”

Bolney Wine Estate, based in Sussex, is expecting their “biggest crop to date” with an estimated harvest of 240 tonnes of grapes. Commenting on the hot weather, Bolney’s team said: “The mature vines at Bolney are deep rooted in the soil so they aren’t impacted too negatively by prolonged periods of drought.”

The exciting thing about this year’s hot weather is not only for riper, more age-worthy fizz but also the prospect of better red wines, often made from Dornfelder, Rondo or Pinot Noir. Aldwick Estate in Somerset has recently released its Flying Pig red wine, which will be available to buy from Novel Wines soon.

Luke Ford is the owner of Sutton Ridge Vineyard, based in the Yeo Valley in Somerset. The newest English producer to be listed with us, Sutton Ridge make the exceptionally good Dewdown English Sparkling. Luke is also excited about this vintage, commenting: “With 2018 being one of the driest and hottest summers since 1976 it’s no surprise English vineyard owners are excited about the upcoming harvest. I foresee 2018 will be the vintage that gains English wines global recognition.”

Stephen Spurrier, a long-time supporter of English wines and a fellow vineyard owner, has described 2018 as “marvellous”. So let’s all raise a glass to a great vintage!

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