As the winemaking year reaches its climax final preparations for the harvest are being made at Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire. Superb weather in June and an excellent flowering has resulted in vines bursting with fruit.
According to winemaker Martin Fowke, “The wet weather has allowed the grapes to make good size, but we need good weather now over the next few weeks to ripen them, even more so if the crop is big. At Three Choirs Vineyards we aren’t just looking for a ‘bumper crop’, as quality is more important to us than quantity, so we are currently doing a ‘green harvest’ to control the yields and ensure we get maximum concentration in the remaining bunches. Green harvesting is the process of removing extra grape bunches from a vine, with the aim of balancing leaf area and fruit weight for a crop that can achieve better ripeness”.
“At this stage we envisage we will start picking around 10th September. This year is particularly exciting as we will be harvesting the new plantings that were planted three years ago. This will increase the amount of Bacchus we produce, as well as giving us the opportunity to make Chardonnay in volume for the first time, both for still and sparkling depending on how the grapes come in”.
September will be a busy month at Three Choirs Vineyards. As the harvest gets underway there is also a major new investment planned, with 50 new tanks due to be installed in the winery.
Viticulture is now the UK’s fastest growing agricultural sector. Wine production saw a 36% year-on-year increase in 2022 with 8.3 million bottles of sparkling and 3.9 million bottles of still wine produced 1.
For more information about English winemaking at Three Choirs Vineyards visit www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk