Leading English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber announces the start of its 2019 harvest today, which will see grapes picked from 214 hectares of estate-owned vineyards in West Sussex, Hampshire and, for the first time, Kent. Nyetimber is the largest English sparkling wine producer and the only producer to own vineyards across three counties of southern England.
Following the earliest recorded start to harvest in 2018, this year sees a return to more traditional timing of early October and heralds the start of three weeks intense activity at the Nyetimber estate. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes will be hand-picked across 8 of Nyetimber’s vineyards by 300 skilled workers, representing the largest hectarage of any English sparkling wine producer.
Grapes from this year’s harvest will be processed at Nyetimber’s state-of-the-art pressing centre located at the heart of its historic West Sussex estate. This facility uses the latest technology as well as traditional gravity flow to ensure the least mechanical intervention possible and ensures that both the grapes and juice destined for Nyetimber wines are treated in the gentlest way, maintaining the highest level of quality.
This year’s harvest comes at a time of significant growth for Nyetimber and the UK wine industry as a whole. Production in England and Wales increased from 5.9m bottles in 2017 to 13.2m in 2018 and the total area under vine now stands at 3,579 hectares, up 83% since 2015. 3 million vines have been planted in 2019, up from 1 million in 2017.
Cherie Spriggs, Head Winemaker at Nyetimber, comments: “The 2019 harvest seems to be shaping up to be a more typical year than 2018, with the start of picking returning to early October. It is too early to say much about the fruit chemistry or flavours, but we are particularly excited to get the first, albeit small, experience of fruit from 6 hectares of our Kent vineyards, which will give us an insight into the characteristics we can expect from this site.”
“The growing conditions this year started with touches of spring frost, although we were largely unaffected, and a moderately warm, if at times wet, summer – all ‘typical’ factors in the UK which have previously resulted in great wines from years like 2009. Excellent work by our team in the vineyards has ensured optimal vine and fruit health, with all signs looking positive for both quality and quantity across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent for the 214 hectares we will be harvesting from – the largest hectarage of any English sparkling wine producer currently.”
The 2019 Nyetimber harvest:
Start date: Saturday 5th October
Hectares being harvested: 214
Vineyards being harvested: 8
Harvest pickers: 300
Vineyard locations and hectarage:
West Sussex – 150ha
Hampshire – 58ha
Kent – 6ha
Grape varieties and hectarage:
Chardonnay – 104ha
Pinot Noir – 74ha
Pinot Meunier – 36ha