With the challenging weather towards harvest time in 2019 our harvest began 2 weeks later than 2018 on 10th October, and then as and when the weather allowed us.
However a good yield across the 5000 vines left us in know doubt that 2019 harvest would be clean, quality grapes and that is down to all the hands on leaf stripping and canopy management that we maintain.
Siegerrebe was the first variety to harvest and within days we then moved on to our Pinot Noir and Rondo, the remaining varieties Regent, Phoenix and Seyval Blanc enjoyed the last of the autumnal sunshine and when the rain eventually stopped were then harvested Whilst the yield was not as large as 2018 but above average, the quality of fruit was excellent.
We were delighted with the overwhelming response to assist us with our harvest again this year, for some a first time and already talking of coming along again next year, Great news and Thank you.
As harvest came to an end we had the pleasure of welcoming celebrity chef James Martin to the vineyard for a mornings filming, for release in 2020.
Early September 2019 Robb and I tasted our 2015 vintage “1581” and plans were made to release this as we kick started our festive weekends on 7th & 8th December a limited release of 487 bottles each numbered and already sought after.
Great grape news we gained a handful of awards at this years Welsh Vineyard Association annual competition and enjoyed a great evening with fellow vineyard owners at Llanerch hotel and Vineyard.
We decided that every weekend throughout December would be a festive weekend at our cellar door allowing our returning and new visitors to stock up with our quality award winning Welsh wines for the festive season and beyond, Robb and I thank you all for your continued custom, support and friendship.
The release of “1581” was overwhelming and many a festive table from near and far had a bottle to enjoy with family and friends.
A New Year a New Decade and we look forward to welcoming those of you who may have received a voucher as a gift and hope your visit to our vineyard will be the first of many.
Plans for the month of January are winter pruning and we have an extra 2000 this year with our new planting and so it’s secateurs in hand and off to go.
The new plantings are straight forward to prune however a lot of bending involved with every vine taken back to 2 buds from its crown this encourages the vine in its early years to set its root system deep into the soil. This year we would expect the vine to grow in height and a good pencil thickness cane develop, as the vine grows we maintain it securely to the tutor encouraging a straight cane.
Pruning our more established vines involve a lot more work as pruning sets the stall for the growing season, “Smokey Joe” will be moving into the vineyard for a couple of weeks burning the vine pruning as we go the potash is then riddled back into the soil.
Robbs has his first appointment in the diary for 2020 as he is invited to sit on the panel for the Innovative Farming Great Wine Debate hosted by the soil association.
The chair and speakers are Chair: Anna Hill, Speakers: Will Davenport Davenport Vineyards, Cameron Roucher Rathfinny Estate, Emma Lundie Forty Hall Vineyards and Robb Merchant White Castle Vineyard with an anticipated audience of 120 people.
We look forward to welcoming you to our vineyard and plans are on the grapevine for a grande vineyard tour, what is that I hear you ask? Best visit and find out see you soon. Wishing you all a Happy New Year.
Nicola & Robb.