In such an interesting year, we are very grateful for the glorious weather in 2020. We did have some challenges with spring frosts, particularly the last late one in the middle of May, but with our usual care and attention we lit our bougies (frost protection candles) four times which saved the vineyard and no frost damage was recorded.
Due to such big harvests in 2018 & 19, the 2020 yields are lower and more in line with our average. A comparatively smaller vintage will be helpful in light of the additional Covid-19 protocols required in the winery during harvest. This latest September heatwave will ensure a high quality vintage as sugars are rising by the minute and the fruit is currently looking incredibly clean, with the Pinot Meunier and the Chardonnay looking stellar.
We are expecting to begin picking at Ridgeview on the 24th of September which will be one of our earliest harvests reflecting an extremely rapid phase between verasion and ripening, normally this would take around 5 weeks but this year it has been two weeks. The forecast for the next week or so looks like it is remaining dry so we are very excited about the potential of 2020 harvest – one good thing to celebrate anyway!
Join us to support #thebigenglishwinegoodfriday this Friday 10th April between 7 & 8 pm 🏴
An idea that started as a tweet by fellow English Winemaker Jacob Leadley, has gathered momentum across the country as a way of supporting English wineries at a time when we cannot be open for normal business.
Get your favourite English sparkling wine in, 🍾 share your images or videos across social media tagging in @ridgeviewwineuk #thebigenglishwinegoodfriday
Order before 11 am Wednesday direct from Ridgeview for free single bottle next day delivery in time for Easter 🐣 with £2 bottle going to the brilliant charity Hospitality Action supporting hospitality workers in this time of crisis.
Thanks for your support #buylocal #theBigenglishwinegoodfriday
Top Sussex Wine Producers have teamed together to form ‘Sussex Wineries’ with the aim of promoting regional Sussex Wine tourism. Launched at the Brighton seaside restaurant Murmur on Monday evening, industry, press, trade and peers gathered together to celebrate this new collaboration.
Sussex Wineries is a joining together of inspiring wine estates who are responsible for producing many internationally acclaimed wines; featuring Albourne Estate, Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Bolney Wine Estate, Oxney Organic, Rathfinny Estate, Ridgeview, Stopham Vineyards and Wiston Estate. Sam Lintner CEO of Bolney and Tamara Roberts CEO of Ridgeview launched the new initiative with a welcome speech.
Guest gathered together with the Iconic backdrop of Brighton’s West Pier to sample some of the very best of the award-winning Sussex wines with perfectly matched canapés provided by Murmur, the latest venture of Great British Menu Chef Michael Bremner. The event was supported by Riedel glassware, with wines were served in Riedel Veritas glasses specifically chosen for their ability to maximise flavour and versatility for still and sparkling wines.
Sussex is now widely regarded as producing some of the best sparkling wine in the world with wine producers having already won trophies in many international wine competitions. Sussex vineyards are based on a diverse range of soil types, including the iconic chalk of the South Downs. Sussex is also recognised as one of the sunniest areas in England. These inherent natural factors make Sussex an ideal region to produce grapes of outstanding quality for wine production.
The Sussex Wine website http://sussexwineries.co.uk/ is now live with information about all the wineries and opportunities for visitors locally, nationally and internationally. The first collaborative event is Sussex Wineries Weekend celebrating ‘Sussex Day’ from the 15th – 17th of June. Each winery will have a schedule of events throughout the weekend to encourage visitors to experience the diversity of what is on offer in Sussex as a wine region.
Sussex Wineries encourage visitors to discover their wines, tasting rooms, cafés, accommodation, tours and experiences with the aim of working together to put Sussex on the International Wine Tourism Map.
By Ridgeview Vineyard Manager Matt Strugnell
In this cold and snowy week, how are our vines coping with ‘The Beast from the East?’ Thankfully our vines are fully dormant (asleep) at the moment. The coldest spot at Ridgeview was -10.0 C early on Wednesday morning, and probably not enough to cause any damage. Another drop of 5 degrees, and we might start to see a few buds being damaged, but it would take a further 10 degree drop to start seeing significant problems. There is a general rule that if the annual minimum temperature falls below -20 degrees C, more than once a decade, then problems occur. Some cultivars are more cold hardy than others; Chardonnay is slightly more winter hardy than Pinot noir for example. But overall, in Southern England, periods of extreme cold are fairly uncommon.
Fortunately most of our pruning is completed which could be cold and tricky in this weather. I don’t expect these cold temperatures to have an effect on budburst, or indeed the timing of the coming season. Grapevines, like most fruit crops do require a certain amount of chilling over winter, to kick start the next growing season. So budburst is really more about how the seasonal temperature during second half of March and early April is. Of course, as the buds start to swell, and the new shoots for this year’s crop emerge, this is the time we have to start being vigilant for Spring frosts, which, whilst not causing long term injury to the vines, can impact this year’s crop. There will be more about what we do to protect our vines in spring in the next update.