This month in the vineyard

November 2017 update

Well, that’s the 2017 wine now safely tucked into its fermenters for the winter.  In what has been one of the worst years for vineyards for a long time with a heavy late frost in May and a dull and wet September and October, we were pleased to get a decent crop of Solaris and to be able to produce a red with additional grapes from another Cornish vineyard.

Our 2016 wine is all bottled and selling well, with takeup from new outlets in Lostwithiel and Tavistock added to our local restaurants and shops.  We are excited to have bottled our first red wine which is now doing some more maturing in the bottle before it’s released in the spring of next year.  So many people ask us if we do a red that we hope this will go down well.

Another few weeks and a couple of frosts and it will be time to start pruning again.

April 2016 update

Well, it’s been a lovely winter with lots of crisp, sunny Cornish days perfect for pruning.  All the vines are now looking nice and tidy, the sap is rising and budburst will take place very soon.  All we need now is lots of sun and not too much rain – we can but hope.

We’ve also taken the decision over the winter to expand.  500 more Solaris vines are currently tucked away in a cold, dark place waiting to be planted as soon as the risk of late frost has definitely passed.  As well as our own plantings, some of these and a few Bacchus vines will be going to a couple of brave local growers who want to experiment with becoming our suppliers in the future.

Early spring tasting of the 2015 wine was very promising and we’re looking forward to the finished product, which we plan to bottle in early summer so it’s available for summer holiday sales.

November 2015 update

Finally gave up on the prospect of any further ripening at the end of October and harvested the rest of the grapes.  So for 2015 we’ve ended up with a decent crop of Solaris and Bacchus and rather less Schonburger and Pinot.  All now pressed and fermenting.

Wine sales are going well, with several of our trade partners already requiring re-stocks and a growing number of folks buying direct from the vineyard.  Delighted by the feedback – it seems other people agree with us that we have managed to make good wine!  Looking forward to doing a wine tasting for Cornwall Chamber of Commerce later in the month.

October 2015 update

Well, this was the month when 7 years of hard work started to come to fruition, in lots of ways.  Harvest is going well, with a good crop already in from the Solaris.  Less Pinot Noir than last year in common with many other vineyards because of the late spring and soggy August, but we are harvesting at the moment and think we might have some very intense and exciting flavours to work with.  Seriously considering our first single variety red.  Schonburger and Bacchus still on the vines at the moment, as we are determined to squeeze the last drops of autumn sunshine into the grapes before harvesting.  If this final ripening goes to plan, then this might also be our first year for a single variety Schonburger, having decided last year to go with a blended Schonburger Pinot Rose.

We have also begun selling our 2014 vintage of four wines:  the white Bacchus and Solaris and rose Schonburger Pinot and Pinot Bacchus.  Being quite selective about choosing only high quality local restaurants and foodie outlets at present but delighted with the positive response to tastings and pleased to announce that Looe Valley Vineyard wine is now stocked at Purely Cornish in Looe, Trevallicks Farm Shop near Pensilva and at The Old Sail Loft at Looe and The Old Plough at Duloe, as well as available for sale at the vineyard or by email to admin@looevalleyvineyard.co.uk

August 2015 update

All the varieties flowered late this year, in mid-July, due to the very late spring.  That means we’re expecting harvest towards the end of October.

Early summer leaf growth has been prolific and the Solaris, Bacchus and Fruhburgunder have all needed a severe summer prune to keep the canopy under control.  The Schonburger is a bit more restrained as a variety but even that has needed a trim.

Flowering was good and the weather was kind so lots of fruit has set on all four varieties and after a long warm and dry spell is reaching the point at which the fruit starts to swell and ripen (veraison).  August rain is welcome but also means we’re on the lookout for any sign on mildew to which vines are particularly susceptible – fortunately, none so far this year.  The wasps are also out in force, so we’ll be putting out wasp traps shortly to keep them off the fruit.

Meanwhile it’s bottling time for the 2014 vintage.  We’ve had lots of fun with our wonderful local designer Jo Hoskin who’s come up with a set of lovely labels and other artwork to make the wine look as beautiful as it tastes, and we’ll post images as soon as we can.  Charles has also been busy buying all the equipment we’ll need for our first large-scale bottling (filter and pump, bottler, corker, capping machine – oh and of course the bottles, corks and caps to go with it) and building shelving in the winery for storage of the finished product.

We’ve been pleased to welcome several local groups for visits and tastings over the summer.  We plan several tastings around Cornwall during the autumn, the first of which will be at Sterts Theatre on Bodmin Moor on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September when we will be offering tastings and sales from 6.00 before the evening performances of the excellent “Some Enchanted Evening”, and again during the interval.  If you’re part of a group that would like to visit the vineyard or for us to come to one of your events, then please email info@looevalleyvineyard.co.uk or talk to Charles on 07792 539442.

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