Here at Lyme Bay Winery we proudly strive to make the best wines from the best grapes from the best growers.
Working with selected vineyards we partner top quality fruit with outstanding winemaking to deliver exceptional flavour throughout our still and sparkling wines. We source from premium sites across the UK including Essex, Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Oxfordshire and via our blog, want to shine a spotlight on these remarkable people. First up – Essex!
Great Whitmans Vineyard
The Crouch Valley, Maldon, Essex
Why this site:
It is one of the largest vineyards in England, with 80 acres of vines planted. The soils are rich, weald clay which is ideal for the main grape we get from them, Bacchus. The vines are protected by forests bordering the site, keeping them sheltered from bad weather. This allows the grapes to stay on the vine as long as possible, allowing them to develop and ripen fully.
The Crouch Valley, where this vineyard is located, has a unique microclimate which creates some of the best grapes in England. Higher sugars, well-balanced acids, and intense flavour profiles. The cool diurnal shifts at night protect the beautiful aromas in the grapes – as well as the River Crouch warming to protect the vineyard from frosting.
Our opinion of the grapes:
Even in challenging years, the grapes are still excellent, but in great years the flavours and aromas are truly incredible. High-quality control from the harvesting team makes the bright orange picking bins they use a delight to see.
How we use and vinify the grapes:
We ferment this wine with the intent to create the best wines possible. No expense spared! Rather than just fermenting with one yeast we sequentially inoculate with Torulaspora Delbrueckii yeast to create a rich complexity in a wine variety that can at times be one dimensional. After this we merely treat the wine with the same high level of respect Lyme Bay affords any white wines in order to maintain maximum freshness.
Wines produced from Great Whitmans’ Bacchus:
The ‘Dog Leg’ vineyard within Great Whitmans’ 80 acres produces some of the best Bacchus on-site, which we use in our single vineyard Bacchus wine, “Bacchus Block”.
Over to the grower:
Comment from vineyard owner Jane Fleming:
“We planted Great Whitmans vineyard in 2006, and by luck rather than design selected a great spot.
“We are primarily arable farmers, which over the years has become quite an isolated occupation, but the vineyard is always a busy place full of activity and people. We enjoy grape growing because it requires such a close working relationship with our customers. During the harvest and throughout the year, we speak constantly to our customers to ensure that we are growing the grapes to the standard that they need.
“We enjoy dealing with Lyme Bay because they are so easy to work with and we know that they will make a great product with our grapes. It is important to us that our grapes go to make great wine and we take pride in the awards that our customers achieve”.