September Makes the Wine?
August has been a funny month, weather wise. According to the news last night it could be the coldest bank holiday August on record with last year being the hottest. It’s been all about layers during the vineyard tours this month, some days it’s been so hot we’ve had to take a quick lie down in between tours under the shade of a giant, ancient oak, other days we’ve wished we had more layers and were wearing a beanie hat!
We’ve welcomed over 80 people to the vineyard this month, some have never tried English wine before, some are seasoned connoisseurs, all have been great fun. We’ve welcomed people from all over the UK enjoying staycations in the local area and couples from as far afield as New York, Australia and South Africa.
Throughout these tours the main subject of discussion has been English Wine, but we’ve also ended up discussing the wider wine world and been told some hilarious stories along the way. During the tasting the groups often open up with new friendships formed and little serendipitous moments encountered finding out people are actually neighbours or went to the same school just a few years apart.
As we enter September we are coming into a very important time in the vineyard, they say in the Champagne region that ‘August makes the wine’ for us in the UK I think it’s more apt to say that September makes the wine. Being a few hundred miles further north our grapes need to stay on the vine that little bit longer to reach their full ripeness and sugar content. Harvest has already started in the Champagne and Burgundy region and as the leaves begin to turn here and the pinot noir begins to darken, I know we aren’t that far off either. The start of harvest in October brings an end to tours for the season, it’s a very bittersweet time for us at English Vineyard Tours. The last tour this year will be the 26th September and after that we shut up shop until April/May next year to get out of the way for harvest and all the winter pruning and maintenance that needs to take place.
What on earth will we do for 6 months? Well, there is still plenty to do and we’ll be hosting a few tastings throughout the winter months, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Of course, there is always more to learn and taste and we have an ever growing list of books and documentaries we need to get through. We are particularly excited about Oz Clarke’s newest book ‘English Wine’ being released on the 3rd September – we’ve pre-ordered a copy and can’t wait to delve in! But before we can do that, we have another four weeks of wine tours welcoming new people and chatting all things wine, we can’t wait to welcome you!