I could literally chew all of my nails to the quick, such is my anticipation of this year’s English wine harvest to arrive.
It’s pleasing to know that the UK in its entirety has had a summer of unprecedented good weather. Even my web-footed friends from the rainy plains of Enniskillen, NI were pinching themselves as the mercury continued to rise to record levels. Now that’s saying something!
For those of us living in the southern counties, the temperatures have, at times, been exhausting. At Hannibal Brown HQ, our wines are kept cool and out of harm’s way. Us humans, on the other hand, had the tricky choice of office air-con installation or simply lifting the foot off the red hot pedal a little – we chose the latter and allowed ourselves the pleasure of enjoying summer 2018. (And in any case, the air-con systems were all sold out!)
Vines, like us humans, love extended periods of sunshine and warmth. Grapes being grown for English sparkling wines in particular are thriving this year. Compared to the Champagne region of France, England normally produces about a third of the wine grape crop – this year, there are suggestions that we could be on course for matching the Champagne level. Ripening has been even and consistent since bud burst and if things remain as they are forecast (more sun, more heat), 2018 could yet prove to be the best wine harvest on record.
Of course, you never know with the British weather… a quick dose of hail in August or an angry tornado ripping through the Surrey Hills could put paid to everything. So if ever there was a moment to call upon the good will of ‘Him upstairs’, now is the time. Come on everyone, let’s drop to our knees and give ol’ Blighty a vintage to remember!