In 2010 Mark Darley commissioned a detailed viticultural survey of a south facing field at the family farm. The survey came back with a glowing report: perfect slopes in angle and aspect, great altitude for growing capricious Chardonnay and wonderful free draining soil. In 2011 the plunge was taken and the first All Angels vineyard planted with a mix of the classic varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris but also early fruiting Rondo. Such was the success that another vineyard of pure Chardonnay was planted in 2015 and a third (Holtwood) in 2020 bringing the total size to 6 ha, each with their own unique qualities, producing different wines in the same year.

A YEAR IN VINES

The start of the year is largely a period of dormant recovery. Bud-burst occurs from mid-April onwards and is a critical time. For two years in a row, the harvest was hit hard by harsh air-frosts that struck during bud-burst, freezing the buds then covering them with a layer of frost that acted like a magnifying glass when the sun rose, burning the buds to a shrivel.

Spring and Summer are exciting times to wander the vineyards, watching the development of the leaves from tiny peeping youngsters, through their teenage, bright green growth into established, maturing canopies.

Around mid-Autumn, bunches of grapes are sent off to our award-winning winemaker and team for analysis to work out whether and when the crop should be picked – not all varieties ripen and are picked at the same time but when the green light is given, the teams swoop into action to harvest and deliver the grapes as quickly as they can. Confirmation of the weight of harvest is given and vineyard returns submitted to the Food Standards Agency.

HOLTWOOD

Nine years after we planted our first vineyard, almost to the day, the VineWorks team were back again, planting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in our latest vineyard. Their German subcontractors arrived and started planting on 13th May, the day after one of the latest air frosts we have seen devastated many of the vineyards across England. Luckily these young vines won’t yet be affected by frost.

Read more….

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