Another vineyard year has begun as we started the winter pruning last weekend.
What does this year have in store for us? It is unheard of for us (and almost so for all other Northern hemisphere growers) to be looking back on no less than three good years in a row. We won silver medals for both our 2009 and 2010 bacchus (currently selling) and have high hopes for the 2011: the juice direct from the press was utterly delicious. The sugar and acid levels were bang on too. Gold medal this year? Wait and see. Vince, our winemaker, doubts it … but he is always cautiously pessimistic, having been in the winemaking game for over twenty years now. Oh yes .. we also got a silver medal for our Brut sparkling from grapes grown in 2008.
We can take inspiration from our great great grandfathers who owned Chateau Loudenne in the Haut Medoc (Bordeaux). Part of an article from ‘Viticulture in France’ 1887: The French government grant annually in each department a Gold Medal for the best cultivated, and the most successful vineyard of the year, and it cannot but interest the scientific agriculturalist to learn that Messrs W & A Gilbey to improve the growth and character of the vine and arrest the progress of the phylloxera in the district of the Medoc have been so successful as to secure for them the award of the Gold Medal for the department of the Gironde, a department which includes the most celebrated claret producing vineyards of the world, such as Chateau Margaux, Lafite, Latour, Mouton Rothschild etc . Inspiration indeed!