jamie goode's wine blog: Vintage of the century: England 2009!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vintage of the century: England 2009!

Things are looking very good for the 2009 vintage in the UK. We had wonderful conditions for flowering, which is always a problematic time here. Normally, flowering weather is rubbish and so yields are really low. Not so in 2009.

And while it hasn't been the hottest summer on record, June was hot (1.5 degrees above average) and now August is shaping up very well. However, July was the wettest on record, which has caused some mildew problems.

Sam Lindo, of award-winning southwest winery Camel Valley says its their biggest ever vintage, and that it's early.
On a rather smaller scale, the vines in my back garden, which had virtually no grapes last year, are bearing healthy crops. Phoenix (a hybrid cross that needs no spraying) (below) and Bacchus (top) are looking particularly good. Pinot Noir has really small bunches, but they've gone through veraison nicely and are looking good. Powdery mildew is non-existent, but downy mildew has been a problem for the Pinot Noir especially.



At 3:33 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

It sounds like the weather was very much the same as in the Northeast US

At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's their biggest-ever vintage, maybe the price of English wine will come down a bit it's not exactly good value compared with other wines...

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

In East Anglia - north and east of London, we have been blessed by a dry warm summer, better than I can ever remember. Apart from a dodgy few days in July the weather has been consistently warm and DRY. Watching the UK weather stories on the news makes me feel like I live in another country, the regional differences being so alarming. Today we will go to the beach (27C forecasted) while the west country has another dousing. If I had the money or the land, I'd plant a vineyard here. Fingers crossed it continues.........

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better than 03, 05 and 06?! I can't believe it! Here in Oxford it's been marginally better than the last two, but really not great.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...


I know I know... Lies damn lies and statistics. It has been the sheer absence of bad weather, rather than wall to wall sunshine that has been most remarkable. Most days have been pretty decent. The Met Office keep some stats which make interesting reading..... http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/anomacts/#

Take a peek at the East Anglia section.

You need to be a bit of an anorak to really look that deeply, but what better site than this?

New Zealand has its Gimblett Gravels, why not have the Ardleigh Gravels here in the UK?

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Ms.Drinkwell said...

Found this post very interesting, as I live in California and finding info on wines from the U.K. is really difficult. Do you have any suggestions on British wines I might be able to find here in the States so I can educate my palate?

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Ms Drinkwell,

Stephen Skelton's book on English wine is pretty thorough. Find it on www.englishwine.com
(British wine is made from imported grape concentrate. English wine is made from grapes grown outdoors in England - or wales)

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

And with a dry September and most of October the UK is looking at it's best vintage ever.

Don't expect prices to come down too far though just yet. Our yields per hectare are lower than pretty much anywhere else in the world and there is still no real economy of scale in effect.

In the next couple of years the cropping vineyard area of the UK will be doubling as new plantings come into production. In about 5 years this may bring a price reduction as supply and demand shift.

http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk is a useful site and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6852768.ece is worth reading too.


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