Simon Roberts – Ridgeview Winemaker & Matt Strugnell – Ridgeview Vineyard Manager
Off the back of the glorious 2018 growing season which delivered fantastic quality in both yield and volume, the bar had been set very high for the 2019 vintage. The season started very well with a relatively mild winter, followed by limited frost risk in Spring and normal timing for budburst. Early growing conditions were unsettled with swings between cool and hot spells of weather, but fortunately we were blessed with great flowering weather which resulted in excellent fruit set. The remaining summer was again a mixed bag; cool wet spells followed by mini heatwaves. Canopy management and vigilance was needed as disease pressure was high. The ripening phase probably saw the most consistent period of good weather; lots of sunshine and warm temperatures right up until the end of September.
We were then faced with one of the wettest Octobers that we can recall in our 24 year history. The challenge then became co-ordinating picking dates to avoid the rain and making sure the grapes had time to dry out before pressing. We were fortunate that our experienced enabled us to get our Ridgeview grapes in between spells of the changeable weather. Our Pinots came in first with very large bunches and good to average yield, the Pinot Meunier being a particular highlight. The Chardonnay needed a little longer on the vine and came in lovely and clean with sugars and acidity a little lower than normal. Grapes from the various sites over the South East have been variable, the earlier ripening vineyards have done really well whereas those later ripening and higher altitude have struggling a little in the wet weather. 2019 was a year when we could say experience really mattered. Our cool climate can throw us challenges and this is a year where we can proudly say that our care and due diligence in the vineyard really paid off. We have had the result of good volumes of clean grapes with nice concentration of phenolic flavours.