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More than two weeks earlier than last year, Simpsons Wine Estate is gearing up to start its 2017 harvest. Having experienced the best and worst of the British climate during the growing season, tomorrow sees the first Pinot Noir grapes coming into the winery in Barham.

An early warm spell in March meant that the vines in the Roman Road vineyard got off to a flying start. Unfortunately many were then stopped in their tracks by the air frost event on the night of 18th April.

Those vines unaffected by the frost continued to progress well in the glorious sunshine and plentiful showers of May and June, maturing well and producing beautifully formed fruit. As usual the Pinot Noir grapes mature before the Chardonnay and they are now ready to pick. Maturity control shows the Pinot Noir clones to be between 10-11% potential alcohol and the Chardonnay between 9-10%. The total acidity, while sharp is decreasing nicely.

Unfortunately those vines that were affected by the frost have borne less fruit, thus the overall yields for 2017 will be lower than we would have hoped for from our second harvest. The secondary growth on these vines is less homogenous and may mean that we pass through parts of the vineyard twice so that only the grapes that are fully ripe are picked on each occasion.

Although it has been a challenging year, the Simpsons’ winemaking team is extremely excited about bringing in this second harvest and the weather is looking fine and settled for the week ahead.

Do check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for further updates from the 2017 Simpsons Wine Estate harvest.