Ridgeview partner with Polar Explorer Ben Saunders

(Ben Saunders – Photo credit – Canada Goose)

Ridgeview has teamed up with the inspirational Polar explorer Ben Saunders as a supporter and official wine partner. Ben is currently attempting the first ever solo, unassisted and unsupported crossing of Antarctica. As one of the world’s leading polar explorers, Ben has covered more than 6,000 kms on foot in the Polar regions since 2001. This latest expedition was first attempted by Ben’s friend Lt Col Henry Worsley who nearly completed the journey before falling ill and passing away in January 2016. Ben is determined to finish the expedition in Henry’s honour while raising money for the Endeavour fund.

After a chance meeting at Ridgeview with Ben Saunders, both parties got together to swap values and ideas. Together they instantly found a synergy between Ben’s ground-breaking, brave spirit and Ridgeview’s pioneering, bold efforts in establishing an English sparkling brand when it was unheard of as a product in the global world of wine.

Ben commented on the partnership from his tent in Antarctica: “The ability to celebrate – as well as to endure – is a vital part of any human endeavor. I’m proud to be partnering with Ridgeview, and a glass of their world-class sparkling wine is the perfect way to toast the completion (and indeed the launch) of an expedition. As a British, family-run company, Ridgeview have been unafraid to take on steep odds, giant competitors and lofty goals, and the wine they produce is testament to their passion and attention to detail. I’m delighted to be working with them”.

Ridgeview will be supporting Ben and following his inspirational journey. Tamara Roberts CEO of Ridgeview commented; “We were so inspired by Ben who is incredibly brave, determined and uncompromising with such an infectious spirit. We felt a great alignment with Ben’s values and not being afraid to be different. Ben’s latest journey in honour of his friend Lt Henry Worsley is so honourable and an inspiration to us all. We are looking forward to toasting a glass of Ridgeview with Ben on his return.”

Ben is one of the world’s leading polar explorers who has covered more than 6,000 kms on foot in the Polar regions since 2001. Ben completed the Scott Expedition that defeated Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton in 2014 and holds the record for the longest solo Artic journey by a Briton. In this latest expedition Ben will be covering over 1000 miles which is expected to take around 65 days to reach his destination in the New Year.

Ridgeview will be closely following the journey of Ben Saunders and this admirable journey on his blog http://bensaunders.com/ You can also sponsor Ben and the Endeavour Fund directly at  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/polarben

Vineyard Manager Matthew Strugnell reflects on 2017 growing season

2017 Harvest could be defined as a season of two halves: pre and post fruit set.

An early bud burst makes the viticulturist nervous.  The widely reported Spring frosts were indeed severe, and in some parts of the country, too severe for any of the usual frost protection methods.  At Ridgeview we were able to reduce any damage to the bare minimum using bougies.

May and June were both warm and sunny which led to very early flowering. We normally say that flowering occurs at some point during Wimbledon; this year we were in full flower in time for the French Open final.  Mid way through flowering, I calculated that we could well be harvesting on September 25th, a full 5 days earlier than we had ever picked before and only the second September harvest we have done.

The weather remained superb until the berries were petit pois size.  Late July, although the temperatures were still reasonable, we had well above average rainfall.  This continued throughout August, so berry growth was very rapid.  This had the potential to cause early botrytis, so canopy management and well timed sprays were crucial.

Veraison was early and fairly quick,  so my early prediction of Sept 25th held true.  The ripening period continued to be wet, so we selectively removed some fruit in the heaviest cropping areas.  We kept leaf removal to a minimum to give some aeration to the bunches, but to maximise photosynthesis.

Some bunch weights were very impressive.  Chardonnay was particularly good; high level of cropping (13,000kg / ha), well ripened and free of disease.  Pinot noir, the yields were lower but really flavoursome. Meunièr had some really huge ripe bunches, but fewer in number.

All in all a challenging year, but we got very good yields of ripe, lovely clean flavoursome fruit, and as a Vineyard Manager I couldn’t ask for much more than that!

Matthew Strugnell

Vineyard Manager