2014 was a fantastic year for grape growing in England and our vines, though still young, produced beautifully ripe and clean grapes, completely free of disease and reaching really good sugar levels (74.5 Oeschle for the still varieties, 71 Oeschle for the sparkling). We had pruned hard last spring to give our immature vines a chance to properly establish before we take large crops off them. So our yields were still very low, as predicted. The total crop was just under at tonne (950 Kg), which should give us in the region of 260 bottles of still wine and 490 bottles of sparkling – slightly more than last year. The Chardonnay did much better this year and a small amount of Bacchus came on stream for the first time. We experienced some problems with parakeets and other birds, which took a real liking to the deliciously sweet Ortega in particular – and who can blame them? We did our best with hawk kites, nets around the edges of the vineyard and firework bangers to keep the birds at bay.
A huge thank you to all the amazing FHV volunteers who worked hard all year to achieve these results and who led the harvest volunteers, including for the first time this year sponsors and corporate volunteers, all of whom picked, carried, weighed and loaded the grapes on 17th Sept (still varieties) and again on 1st Oct (sparkling varieties).