Now that spring has arrived – albeit chillier than normal, we are looking forward to another busy season in the vineyards. The pruning process is finished and the long, overcast winter is now behind us. The Chardonnay buds are starting to open, soon to be followed by the other varieties. Chardonnay is always the first major variety to break bud, bringing a sense of excitement and anticipation for the months ahead.
We are particularly excited this year about the 150 acres of new vineyards at Boarley and Boxley, which we planted in 2019, and will produce grapes for the first time in 2021. The inaugural harvest for a new vineyard is always a special occasion, as it provides the first glimpse of the potential of the wines it will produce for years to come.
We have had some cold nights recently, which have brought nervous moments, as we don’t like the ‘F’ word in the vineyards. Frosts are our enemy at this time of year, particularly as the young shoots are particularly susceptible to damage. We have a few more weeks to navigate yet, so are keeping everything crossed! I think once the last full moon in May has passed, we might be tempted to uncross ourselves, and start to look forward to the warm and sunny summer ahead.
Richard Lewis, Head of Viticulture
It’s been a busy six months since the last winery update at the end of harvest. The wines from the 2020 vintage have been a pleasure to work with, showing generosity of fruit flavours and lovely balance.
As I write this, we’re blending the traditional method sparkling base wines, and we plan to start bottling these wines at the end of May, ready for drinking in 2023 onwards! If, like me, you can’t wait that long, perhaps try one of the wines we’ve already bottled this year. We’ve focussed on still wines so far and have bottled the Flint Dry, English Rose, Bacchus and Carbonated Bacchus from the 2020 harvest. I’m really happy with all of these wines, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with loved ones in the coming spring and summer months, as restrictions ease.
In June, we’ll start putting the Kits Coty blends together from barrel, before some more traditional method sparkling wine bottling in July. Hopefully everyone will be able to have a break in August before harvest 2021 springs into action!
Josh Donaghay-Spire, Head Winemaker
We are delighted that the team at The Swan will be launching a new menu of delicious small plates available on the terrace from Friday 23rd April. You can now enjoy catching up with friends over a selection of pastries and a coffee, or relax with a light lunch of Gin Cured Salmon in the sunshine. View the new Terrace Menu here.
The Swan will be offering this service Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. Come and enjoy some al fresco dining!
We’d recommend advance booking, visit the Swan’s website to reserve a table.
For those of you keen to dust off the picnic rug and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the vineyards and herb garden, the Winery shop is now stocking a range of tempting fresh produce from which you can choose and put together your own picnic alongside a chilled bottle of Chapel Down.
The Winery shop is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. Come and enjoy the vineyards at your own leisure. If you wish to contact the retail team, please call 01580 766111.
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