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It’s an exciting time of the season for us at Bolney Wine Estate. Around our vineyards, ‘veraison’ is underway. It’s a French term for when the grapes changing colour or becoming more translucent (if they are white varieties), and swell in size which is the signal that the berries are ripening and becoming more sweet. The recent rain will encourage growth in the vine canopy, and will also help the berries to swell. Their size increases rapidly as the vines start to deploy their energy into the fruit, and as the grapes accumulate sugars and aroma compounds. Hand in hand with this process, the acids in the fruit start to diminish, until the sugar and acidity is perfectly balanced. So harvest will be a few short weeks away!
This above pictures shows our Rondo in veraison.
Our earliest varieties should be ready to harvest in the third week in September, with other, later varieties ripening at different times into early October. These last few days of the English season are critical in drawing out the ripening process as long as possible for these later varieties before the cold and damp autumn begins to affect the fruit.
The process of harvesting grapes is a very labour intensive one. Every bunch is traditionally hand picked and placed in picking crates, before being transported to the winery. So we have to use scores of people to manage the task. The fruit industry hasn’t found it easy to secure pickers from outside of the UK this year, so everyone at Bolney Wine Estate, plus their families and friends are poised to help if needed. We have over 200 tonnes of grapes to pick!
So far, the season has been a kind one for those vineyards which escaped the frosts in May.. A hot, sunny September would be a fitting end to such a good year. Here’s hoping!
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