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Harvest 2022

With exhausted winemakers and our vineyard team soothing their aching backs after weeks of speedy but skilled grape picking, we can confirm that harvest 2022 is complete.

“It was a very good vintage, across the board.” – Winemaker Owen Elias.

Owen believes that we should be making more still Pinot Noir as it’s truly one of the many things that English wine can do well. Yes, I repeat, we can make really good Pinot Noir. Just check out our Gatehouse 2020 and you will understand that even at a marginal 51 degrees north, with the correct clones, and careful handling in the winery, you can produce something very special.

There is a lot of excitement in our winery regarding this year’s harvest. But it’s not just Pinot, our still Chardonnays are shaping wonderfully too. Our Head Winemaker, Fergus Elias commented that “we have a small tank of Clone 76 on the go and it’s proving a fascinating wine. This is a clone, known for showing almost nervous energy, especially when grown on chalk. Coincidentally that is exactly what we grew this particular plot on!”

2022 is certainly going to be known as the year of the summer heat. The Met Office has stated that going back as far as 1884, England has had its joint hottest summer ever. But as always there is a bigger picture to be painted. After the heat, which did bring about a few drought concerns for our younger vineyards, the rain began to fall in late August and early September. This is never good for disease pressure, but we were still able to bring in some really great quality fruit.

“What was unusual about this year was that Chardonnay was ready to be picked before our Bacchus. This has never happened before.” – Owen Elias.

Although the rise in temperature, caused by global warming, has allowed us to ripen fruit in a way that wouldn’t be possible just a few decades ago. The subsequent ‘climate chaos’ means that each vintage is unique with its own individual challenges.

We began picking on 20th September and finished on 13th October. Harvest was about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than last year meaning all the grapes came in rather quickly. But, with some well-written press plans, some solid mathematics, and all 3 of our 4-tonne presses on the go at all times, all grapes are now safely and happily fermenting.

Commenting on harvest, Emma Barlow, our Technical and Compliance Manager, said: “I really enjoyed harvest. It was very hard work with long days and at least 16,000 step counts, but we had a great, young, enthusiastic team and basically kept ourselves going mostly on coffee and pastries!”

2022 was certainly a tiring but enjoyable harvest and we are expecting complex and interesting wines across the board. So now, we play the waiting game. Cheers!

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