After much nervous waiting and poring over the weather forecasts, we finally started harvesting our grapes on Thursday. In one day alone we were able to pick around 8 tonnes of mature, healthy Pinot Noir fruit, filling our small Coquard press twice over. It was a huge achievement! We've now moved onto the Pinot Meunier and expect to start picking the Chardonnay some time in the next 10 days, touch wood.
The lovely weather in the last couple of weeks has given us a real boost in the run up to harvest. Last week's warm and sunny spell in particular helped to produce a big jump in sugar and acidity levels of the grapes. We don't want to jump the gun, but I think you can safely say that we are quietly confident that we should get a good, healthy crop this year, providing the rains stay away for the next couple of weeks. We are now in the midst of a formal survey of maturation to identify the best potential harvest dates.
This month saw the official opening of our new winery, which was a truly memorable day for all of us here at Hambledon. Not only were we joined by 60 private guests, but HRH Duchess of Cornwall was our guest of honour!
Ian and I were very excited to get invited to the EWWOTYC award ceremony recently in the House of Commons. Not only was it a great honour to attend such a prestigious event at the forefront of the English Wine industry, but also to get to see inside such an important British building.
The last few days at Hambledon has seen the arrival of some new residents…a swarm of bees that decided our vines were the ideal habitat for them. Watch this space, Hambledon Honey could become a new line for us!
We have finally seen some changes in the vinyard after a long winter as the sun has decided to come out to play at last! Not only are blue skies becoming more common, but we are also starting to feel a little warmth from the sun, which is reflected in the vineyard.