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English winemakers welcome 'perfect' conditions

Published:  19 July, 2013

This year's record summer temperatures could produce a quality vintage on a par with 2009, according to English wine producers.

The buoyant seasonal conditions have come as a welcome relief to many that suffered from last year's bad weather, which saw the likes of Nyetimber call a halt to its 2012 harvest due the sub-standard quality of grapes and lack of volume.

Simon Bladon, owner of Jenkyn Place (pictured), said both its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are flowering "beautifully" with good sized bunches. "All signs point towards a top-quality 2013 vintage - perhaps on a par with 2009, if not better."

He added: "Although it's still early days, the long-term forecast looks fantastic. After the dismal weather last year, we're all delighted to see the return of a 'proper' English summer."

Matt Strugnell, vineyard manager at Ridgeview in Sussex, said the hot weather "couldn't have come at a better time", and has helped its vines flower quickly and successfully.

"We're hoping it will continue through to fruit set later next week in order to better chances of a healthy yield for 2013. However, if the hot temperatures do continue one thing we will have to watch out for is a drop in grape acidity.""

Owner of Camel Valley in Cornwall, Bob Lindo, said its crop has been "transformed from the worst-looking vintage to vine growers' heaven in just 12 days. Every flower will set quickly, putting us on track for a normal vintage start date and a healthy sized crop."

Lindo called the current weather patterns "absolute perfection."

Bob Nielsen, owner of Brightwell Vineyards in Oxfordshire, said: "After English farmers endured the coldest summer for 100 years last year, and the consequent poor harvests, this summer's warm weather is exactly what they needed to lift their spirits. If the warm settled weather continues for a further month then it may become a harvest to get excited about."