With roughly 300 tonnes of English grapes processed so far we are coming to the end of this year’s harvest, and it’s clear that the scorching temperatures of summer that stretched into a warm and dry start to autumn have allowed the grapes to reach their full ripeness.
In fact, our head winemaker Liam Idzikowski thinks this could be the best year yet for Lyme Bay Winery’s English wines. While the Bacchus grapes have come in with very high ripeness levels, Liam is particularly excited about the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes which will be made into our still wines.
“This year the yields and ripeness for these grapes have been excellent”, says Liam. “Those winemakers who have planted in the right places, and have dared to aim for still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, have really seen something very special, with incredible flavours and balance that should produce world-class still wines.”
Following the success of our Lyme Bay Pinot Noir last year (it sold out to our trade customers in less than three months, and got an IEWA Gold award as well as a Sommelier Wine Awards Gold) Liam says we have “grape expectations” for the Pinot Noir this year, adding: “but look out for our Chardonnay as well because, with the fruit this year, this one’s got the potential to be a world-beater.”
The reason for this promising harvest, according to Liam, is the so-called ‘growing degree days’ – a metric that farmers and wine-makers are glued to throughout the year as it gives a score for the average temperature of a region against a base temperature – which have been up 33% this year in Devon and across the country.
Sourcing the very best
“This year we have worked with 17 growers in seven different counties across the country”, explains Liam. “Because the grapes ripen at different times around the country, it means we can pick the fruit at its optimum ripeness, so we can ensure we don’t miss out on getting the very best fruit and the full range of characteristics possible for English wine.”
This keeps our two presses very busy, not to mention our super-efficient team working in shifts to press up to 30 tonnes a day – who Liam says have “eaten their way around the world in takeaways” as the harvest season has progressed.
Award-winning English wines
Liam says he has “never before seen such an exciting combination of ripeness and yield in English grapes”, and we certainly can’t wait to sample the resulting wines.
If you’d like to try Lyme Bay Winery’s award-winning English still and sparkling wines for yourself, then get in touch with our friendly team here at the Winery via email at [email protected], by calling us on 01297 551355 if you’d like to order by phone, or stop by the Winery shop here in Shute if you are passing.
You can also follow Lyme Bay on Twitter: @LBWdrinksltd and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.