We spent the day picking chardonnay and pinot noir
We have been out in the vineyard at Herbert Hall picking chardonnay and pinot noir at Herbert Hall in Kent. Its been a great year for English wine even with all the unexpected events that 2020 has thrown at us, but the vineyards have carried on unscathed. We have seen an enormous amount of support from the public for UK / British businesses. Thank you!
Yesterday we had a field crew of about 8 people and picked roughly 2 tons of grapes. The weather held steady for us and the chardonnay was picked earlier in the morning and pinot noir later in the day. Would you like to pick with us?
Winemakers at Herbert Hall
Kirsty was busy in the winery making a bit of red wine for the colouring of rosé sparkling. Typically, Herbert Hall makes a classic cuvée and rosé sparkling wine but will often hold wine back for library releases. Kirsty studied at Plumpton College for wine making but also learned a lot of practical techniques on the job by working with Nick Hall.
Nick Hall is the owner and also a winemaker at Herbert Hall. The estate was originally his grandfather's farm, which now Nick grows grapes and makes wine on the estate.
Chardonnay with excellent sugar levels
This year (2020) English wine has seen some excellent sugar levels in our grapes. This is largely due to the warm summers we have been experiencing and its effectively increasing our sugar levels but reducing some acidity. Many of the winemakers have stated how they are conscious of this change in climate as it can start to cause problems for sparkling wine production. Don't worry, the winemakers have a few tricks up their sleeve keep that wonderful acidity!
Of course sugar and acidity levels are very site (estate) dependent across the UK. In Kent, where Herbert Hall is located, they usually don't have any problems with either sugar or acidity.
What do you get out of 1 ton of pressed grape juice?
Herbert Hall has a 1 ton press which roughly takes about 5 hours to complete one pressing. It's important to keep in mind that Herbert Hall is a small boutique vineyard which only has 13 acres on the estate, so a 1-ton press is reasonable. This year we have seen relatively good quality of grapes, but most vineyards have stated the yield has been lower than previous years.
Herbert Hall gets about 635 liters of grape juice from 1 ton of grapes. This equates to 833 bottles at 75 cl each. The winemakers consider the first 525 liters the cuvée while the remaining is considered "la tailee" (less acidity).