04/04/2018 // Dan Turner, Vineyard Manager
Our 2018 harvest more than doubled our expectations. In total, the Saffron Grange team and over 80 local volunteers picked over 20 tonnes of grapes – nearly four times the amount we harvested the previous year!
The UK wine industry have called ours and other vineyards’ ‘the harvest of the century’ and cited a record-breaking long, hot summer followed by an unusually warm Autumn.
For us, it was about hundreds of different elements all coming together at the right time to produce this spectacular harvest.
Earlier in the year, we enjoyed a largely frost-free spring, meaning the first shoots to emerge on the vine were undamaged. So-called ‘primary shoots’ are the most fruitful and flavourful whilst secondary shoots produce just 30% the amount of fruits.
Then July’s heatwave gave us excellent conditions during flowering and fruit set because the combination of the heat (necessary for photosynthesis), the low wind and lack of rainfall improved the pollination of the flowers.
Lastly, the extended summer that followed, meant we experienced the ideal conditions for fruit ripening. With grapes, it is often the last few weeks – and even days – where the flavour concentrates in the fruit to create the very best flavour. It all couldn’t have come at a better time for us as we prepare for the launch of our first range of premium quality sparkling wines for release in 2019. It is exciting to see a glimpse of the vineyards true potential.
We owe so much to all the local volunteers, friends and family who helped carefully hand pick the bunches of grapes – not only this year, but in every year since our beginnings over 10 years ago.
All we can say is, watch out for the 2018 vintage – it is going to be a corker!