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English vintage report

Published:  23 July, 2008

wet harvest proves no impediment

The English and Welsh wine harvest has just finished and, despite one of the wettest harvests on record, grape flavours are said to be good and quality generally reckoned to be high, according to the English and Welsh Wine Producers. Some vineyards report lower-than-average yields owing to poor flowering conditions, although others are reporting crops above average, with clean fruit and good sugar levels. The overview of the vintage is one of surprisingly good quality, considering that the summer has been so poor. Although early ripening varieties were being picked in some areas in late September, many vineyards delayed picking to allow sugar levels to rise and acids to drop. The bulk of picking took place in the last two weeks of October. Some smaller vineyards did harvest early, mainly in an attempt to get their grapes in before botrytis set in. Those with better disease control managed to hang on. "The recent flooding has not appeared to have done much damage," said Julia Trustram Eve, on behalf of the EWWP. Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire is celebrating a good harvest. This can be seen with the release of its English Nouveau 2000 on 16 November. Chapel Down Wines, in Kent, reports a good crop from its own vineyards at Tenterden. Denbies reports reasonable sugar levels although a lower-than-average yield. New Hall Vineyards in Essex and Sandhurst Vineyards in Kent say that they have had their best harvests ever.