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December 20, 2019
Photo: Derek Grant, FHV volunteer.
In contrast to 2018’s unparalleled growing and harvesting conditions, 2019 was a little more varied. Thankfully there was no late spring frost and temperatures remained warm throughout the growing season. In June pollination was hampered a little by some heavy rainfall and then again in late July, which left us exposed to mildew and disease. However, our dedicated volunteers stepped up to the task and worked extra sessions to thin and clear leaves around the fruit, to keep the air flowing nicely.
Acidity and Sugar levels were looking good by the second week of September and we kept the starlings, parakeets (and Forty Hall Farm’s inquisitive pigs) at bay from our ripening grapes for as long as possible.
Harvest began on September 18 th. ( 1 week later than last year) and for the first two picks we basked in glorious sunshine, which was captured in this short film by friend of FHV, photographer Miles Willis.
As harvest progressed, the weather turned distinctly autumnal and the Indian summer became a distant memory as we dodged the rain showers, to keep our grapes dry.
We harvested just under 12 tonnes (compared to the exceptional 20 tonnes last year) but, this was still our second highest yield ever. We were particularly pleased with the Bacchus, which produced the same quantity as last year.
Sugar and acidity levels were good across all varieties and we are anticipating around 10,000 bottles from this vintage. With our vines maturing and wine making in the safe hands of a master of organic winemaking, Will Davenport of Davenport Vineyards we are looking forward to tasting 2019’s wines.
Thank you to our wonderful band of pickers and everyone who supported harvest this year including: all our volunteers and harvest helpers and staff from Forty Hall Farm, students from Capel Manor College and teams from Camden Town Brewery and Beavertown Brewery who joined us. Between them they gave us over 210 hours of their time. A huge thank you also to the staff from GP Garden Services who transported the grapes with great care, on the same day of pick to the winery. We are extremely grateful for everyone’s dedication and hard work.
Here are some photos taken by one of our volunteers Derek Grant.
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