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A memorable harvest!

posted 23 Oct 2015, 08:56 by Warden Abbey Vineyard   [ updated 22 May 2016, 03:59 ]
Harvest report 2015

Sunday's harvest was an incredible achievement!  Although we lacked the beautiful sunshine we had at last year's harvest, sixty-five pickers worked extremely hard and filled 306 crates.  At just under 4.7 tonnes of grapes - a full tonne more than last year - it was a challenge for a single day's picking. The wet, cold weather in the final week before up to harvest had taken its toll a little, with botrytis rot beginning to spread. As usual the pheasants had taken their share too. However, the standard of picking was very high and the fruit that we sent down to the winery looked beautiful. And the lab has confirmed that we achieved the highest sugar levels so far since the first year as a community vineyard in 2010. So this year's harvest day really stands out and everyone pushed themselves so hard - a truly immense effort.

The grapes are destined for around 1100 bottles of Bacchus and 2000+ bottles of sparkling.

As an added bonus, half a dozen volunteers did a second sweep through the vineyard yesterday and found enough fruit left to fill only a further 11 crates (another testament to good picking on Sunday). We dropped them over to Apple Cottage Cider at Baldock, who are doing an experimental pressing for us to produce a very small quantity of bottled pure grape juice .

I'm afraid my photos of the day are very poor - too much sticky juice on my mobile!  If you took some on the day, I would love to have them, and you can always enter them in our photo competition.
This year’s harvest day was in jeopardy due to a last-minute glitch which led to an appeal for local businesses to provide crates to pack the grapes on harvest day. The local Waitrose store in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, IFCO Systems, and Kuehne + Nagel Logistics, came to the rescue and loaned us 500 crates for the harvest. We were delighted to welcome Waitrose's Nigel and Denise, above right, who came grape-picking.