This year we celebrated our seventh harvest at Simpsons’ Wine Estate. Those who have followed our journey and have some knowledge of the UK wine industry, appreciate that no two growing years have been the same - from the devastating frost damage of 2017 to the brilliantly bountiful 2018. The previous couple of vintages have seen our teams grappling with the Great British rain, whereas this year’s challenge came in the form of drought conditions. Producing wine in this country is not for the faint of heart and we are blessed to have such an incredibly talented and dedicated team, who always rise to the challenge.
Whilst this year’s glorious sunshine increased the scope of the growing season by 15%, the downside was that our vineyards experienced nearly half of the total rainfall of the previous year, which was cause for consternation. Conditions were carefully monitored and it was testament to our chalk-rich terroir, which held on to the rare drops of much-needed moisture and slowly released it to the vine roots over the summer months.
At the point of Veraison, the bunches were forming beautifully, and although the berries remained relatively small without the rainfall to plump them up, at least the flavour-profiles and aromatics were intensely concentrated. Thus, the team made the decision to hold off harvesting until the beginning of October in order to allow the fruit to develop further and ensure the maximum ripeness.
Picking began on Sunday 2 October and an intense harvest period spanning 20 days ensued, carefully planning the order in which the parcels of each variety should be harvested, in between bouts of long-overdue rainfall. Out in the vineyards, a total of 137,349 meters of vines were harvested, safely gathering in 277.5 tonnes of fruit. This is a record volume, with the anticipation of producing a total of 250,000 bottles of Simpsons’ still and sparkling wines, thus reaching our original production target that was set when the business was established.
The final fruit was picked on Saturday 22 October and the winery team continued their hard work as the juices began fermenting and the next stages of their oenological journey were well underway. We are delighted with the exceptional quality of the fruit, giving rise to the potential of a follow-up Q Class limited edition release. These magnums are only to be created in exceptional years and 2022 has proved itself to be a vintage worthy of this standard.
This exciting harvest news is the crowning glory of in another momentous year in the Simpsons’ story, as we celebrate the Estate’s tenth anniversary. Earlier in the spring, we proudly established our third vineyard site, Bonny Bush Hill, to meet the growing demand for our wines. Our vineyard and winery teams also worked extremely hard to achieve full Sustainable Wine Scheme of Great Britain accreditation. What’s more, in November our Flint Fields Blanc de Noirs 2018, was awarded “Best in Class, English Blanc de Noirs” and the supreme accolade of “National Champion, Best English Sparkling Wine” in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2022.
We look forward to sharing the fruits of our 2022 vintage with you when the wines are released, from next spring onwards. In the meantime, please do follow our social media channels for our latest news and Estate updates. Here you can also see our harvest photography, captured by our Marketing and Communications Manager, who won third place in the WineGB Harvest Photography 2022 competition.