2018 in the vineyard

13 Aug 2018

Written by:

We’ve spent a lot of time writing and talking about non-vineyard stuff this year. And understandably so: it’s been a big year, from the rebranding of our entire range to the design, build and opening of our new visitor centre and the design, equipping and commissioning of our new winery.  

 

But while these new developments may have been the focus of much of our communications, our main physical activity is, was and always will be viticulture. Growing the best grapes we can. 

 

And this year has been a cracker (so far…). 

 

 

 

 

The long, cold winter gave our vines a hugely beneficial dormant season, killed off many off the pests and diseases, and enabled us a good long run at the winter pruning and wire and post replacement tasks. Tim, Bev and Matleena (who undertook these tasks) came to learn the wisdom of Matleena’s Finnish saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”, and quickly embraced the ugly merits of long-johns, beanies, and layer upon layer of old tatty fleeces. 

 

The late arrival of Spring was a blessing (reducing the risk of premature buds being attacked by late frosts), and the wetness of the season was also beneficial (particularly in the hindsight of a summer of drought), giving the vines and their deep roots a good long drink to set them up for the growing to come. Quite amazing during this period was to see in action the superb drainage of our vineyard. Monsoon conditions one day, barely wet underfoot the next. God bless Triassic Sandstone! 

 

And then came the summer which we shall be talking about for years to come. Long and sunny and scorchingly hot. Many tour groups asked whether our vines would be badly affected by the drought. A quick walk round the vineyard persuaded them otherwise! The humans were wilting, the grass was brown, but the vines were going crazy. Which makes perfect sense when you think of the “more typical” climates in which grapes thrive (Australia, South Africa, Southern Europe etc). There is much harm being done to the planet by climate change (and much more to come, unless we act quickly), but for English wine, the changes are very advantageous. We can now grow, with confidence, an ever-increasing range of grapes, and achieve better and better results. 2018 may well come to be seen as a watershed moment in our fledgling industry. 

 

But back to our vineyard. All this sunshine had many hugely positive effects: reduced disease risk, increased grape quantities, and early and prolonged ripening. The one downside, so far, has been the extraordinary amount of leaf and stem growth we’ve had to deal with during the process of canopy management (stripping leaves and removing unnecessary stems to improve airflow around the plants and let light onto the grapes). But, if the season finishes without any incidents, and we get the record harvest that currently looks possible, a bit of canopy-management-RSI and a few nights’ dreaming about pulling leaves will have been a very small price to pay! 

 

A bumper crop (if that’s what we get) might prove to be a bit of a challenge for our new winemaking skills, but that’s for a future blog… 

 

 

 

Under new management - the journey begins

Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
Recent Posts

October 8, 2019

May 17, 2019

April 22, 2019

February 20, 2019

January 25, 2019

January 16, 2019

November 23, 2018

September 10, 2018

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Contact us:

E: office@astleyvineyard.co.uk

Tel:  01299 822907

  • Astley Vineyard Facebook
  • Astley Vineyard Instagram
  • Astley Vineyard Instagram

ADDRESS

 

Astley Vineyard,

Hampstall Lane,

Stourport on Severn,

Worcestershire,

DY13 0RU

OPENING HOURS

Friday - Sunday: 10:30 am-4 pm

Monday-Thursday: CLOSED

Extended Christmas hours

16th-23rd December: 10am-5pm

CLOSED 24th December - 2nd January

Copyright Astley Vineyard 2019

Photography Copyright Don Fossey/Peter Goddard/Peter Lopeman 2019

Illustrations Copyright Astley Vineyard 2019 (designed by WeAreBeard)

Astley Vineyard's new shop and winery were partly funded by the LEADER programme,  administered by Worcestershire County Council, and part of The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:

Europe investing in rural areas