At a Waitrose near you (Tenterden)

Those of you contemplating making a living selling English Wine to our supermarkets are well advised to wander the isles and take a look at the prices and the offers. Even at English Wine friendly Waitrose the pressure is on. Chapel Down Brut is currently £16.99 as is Ridgeview Bloomsberry 2008 -20% off , Nyetimber  2005 is currently on offer at £22.99   20% off. Ridgeview Fitzrovia (rose) is £22 . CD Brut moves through pretty well anyway(being a bit of a bore I count the bottles when I visit) but unsurprisingly really motors at its £12.99 promotional price which happened 2-3 times last year. Both Ridgview and Nyetimber have been on “promotion” in the last 6 months. On the still front we had a brief visit(I think it was in January) from a very youthful  Bolney Pinot Grigio 2010 £9.99, aside from that, only the usual CD suspects, English Rose, Bacchus and Flint Dry. Interestingly our local Tesco(built after promising to support local produce) has no English Wine and has not had any since putting in a couple of cases sortly after opening,  a generous act never since repeated.


New 2500bt/h bottling line at Hush Heath

The business end of Hush Heath’s new bottling line has arrived to be installed and commissioned over the next few weeks. Truly versatile, it is capable of filling anything from 25cl to champagne magnums . Its is equipped to use cork,screw-cap and crown caps and will be used to bottle the 2010 Hush Heath vintage of Balfour, Nanettes English Rose, and a couple of other surprises.

Busy times at Nutbourne/Redfold

Lime fo pH adjustment of the soil

Preparations for planting at Nutbourne are moving ahead . Nearly 4000 vines – Pinot Blanc and Bacchus will be planted at the end of April. Seveal tonnes of lime and fertilizer are currently being spread. Pruning and tying down are now complete and budburst due in about 2 weeks time.

The recently installed Disgorging line saw action for the first time yestereday . The first lot of NUTTY 2007 was disgorged, it will be released in several weeks time . The 2007  is  blend of 50% Pinot Noir and reichensteiner and other grapes grown at Nutbourne vineyard. It is a very English taste , dry, lightly aromatic, hedgerow, attractive and very dirinkable. 

Disgorging at Nutbourne/Redfold

Old friend leaves Chapel Down

For  some of us with long memories, Englands first champagne tank press about to start its final journey. Originally installed at Rock Lodge Vineyard by Norman and David Cowderoy it later saw heavy action at Chapel Down before being quitely retired several years ago. Beautiful juice and a nightmare to use. R.I.P.



The vines are being left with extra canes which will be cut off after the risk of frost has passed.


Dithering and keen the winter comes,

While comfort flies to close-shut rooms

And sees the snow in feathers pass

Winnowing by the window-glass,

Whilst unfelt tempests howl and beat

Above his head in chimney-seat.

Now musing o’er the changing scene,

Farmers behind the tavern-screen

Collect – with elbow idly pressed

On hob reclines the corners’s guest,

Reading the news, to mark again

The bankrupt lists or price of grain,

Or old Moore’s annual prophecies

Of flooded fields and clouded skies,

Whose Almanac’s thumbed pages swarm

With frost and snow and many a storm,

And wisdom gossiped from the stars,

Of politics and bloody wars.

He shakes his head and still proceeds,

Nor doubts the truth of what he reads:

All wonders are with faith supplied-

Bible at once and weather-guide.

Puffing the while his red-tipped pipe,

He dreams o’er troubles nearly ripe;

Yet not quite lost in profit’s way

He’ll turn to next year’s harvest-day,

And, winter’s leisure to regale,

Hope better times and – sip his ale.

JOHN  CLARE – from The Shepard’s Calendar   1827

Early Visitor to Hush Heath Winery


Dee Blackstock was an early visitor to the brand new Hush Heath Winery. Dee tasted the range of juices and base wines from the 2010 and is seen here enjoying what appears to be Pinot Noir pressings . Victoria Ash,winemaker, looks on.

New Year Planting at Nutbourne and Hush Heath

windmill and ploughed land at nutbourneThe ground is being prepared for new plantings at Nutbourne Vineyard in Sussex and Hush Heath in Kent .  

Nutbourne have removed some poorly performing GDC vines, approximately 1.5 ha of vines are being replaced. Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc will be planted for quality still wine production . 2 ha of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay  will come on steam in 2012.

Hush Heath will add another 7 acres to the existing 11 at Marden, 10 acres planted at Sandhurst will take the area under vine for Balfour to 28 acres .It is planned to move production up from 30,000 bottles in 2010 to 100,000 in 2012. 

A number of different Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meurnier clones are being planted on a selection of rootstock . In addition 120 vines each of Arbane, Petite Mesilier and Pinot Blanc are being planted .

Between the covers

The South Country – Edward Thomas

A beautiful and extended prose poem to the southern chalk counties of England in the years before the First World War . First published in 1909 , a centenary edition has been reprinted by Little Toller Books  an imprint  of the Dovecote Press. . A small but interesting list of re-prints , well produced and reasonably priced .