jamie goode's wine blog: Old Walls Vineyard, Devon

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Old Walls Vineyard, Devon

Today was the awards ceremony and lunch following on from the SWVA competition yesterday. It was held at the Old Walls Vineyard, Bisophsteington, not far from Exeter.

Present were many of the winegrowers from the region, and the atmosphere was very jolly as everyone caught up and discussed the soon-to-happen 2009 vintage. The general impression is that in the southwest, 2009 is a late vintage, and because of all the rain this part of the world has received, it's a tricky one, too. This is at odds with other reports I've heard - travel east and you'll find many growers enjoying a very good, somewhat early vintage. And the Lindos are buzzing about 2009 in their patch of Cornwall.

We had a tour round the Old Walls vineyard, which by UK standards is incredibly steeply sloped. From the top of the hill where the picture above was taken, you can see the river and the sea. 2009 has been a very difficult vintage here, with poor fruit set for many varieties and low yields.

After lunch we had the awards ceremony. I was asked to give a short speech as chair of the judges. I made the point that the quality seems to be increasing year on year - 75 of the 97 wines entered achieved a medal or a highly commended. This is an impressive statistic. A second look at the wines in the free-pour tasting before lunch confirmed that English wine is on the way up.



At 5:44 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

weatheranorak here again. Indeed, the east has had a good year as I mentioned in an earlier blog. The Colchester weather station has recorded 365.2mm of rain in the 8 months so far. On target for an annual total of 547.8mm, or about 22 inches annually, which is normal here. And temperatures have been well above normal, on average, but without remarkable episodes. There is a very good amateur weather station site at http://www.tijou.co.uk/weather/

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks Nick - it has been pretty good here in London, too. The Pinot Noir, Bacchus and Phoenix in my garden are looking very healthy, with high yields, and harvest isn't far off.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Jane Awty said...

Our harvest at Oatley Vineyard, which is at Cannington, near the north coast of Somerset, is promising to be the 2nd biggest in 20 years (2nd to 2006) . Hot and dry at setting time, above av temps in Jul and Aug have brought it through. It's clean despite the very wet Jul - active canopy management kept the mildew away. So our experience here has been similar to Camel Valley's - not the great summer of the south east but pretty good for the grapes.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for that input Jane - tried some of your wines and was impressed


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