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Albourne Estate in June: hopes of a dry Wimbledon fortnight

PUBLISHED: 12:47 29 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:50 29 June 2015

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Sussex vineyard owner Alison Nightingale is hoping for a dry Wimbledon fortnight for different reasons than most. It's a crucial time for her Albourne Estate, with flowering of the vines about to start. Why not book on one of her tours at her site, 15 minutes from Brighton, to see how kind the weather proves to be for her 2015 vintage.

As I look out the window to brilliant sunshine I begin to feel more positive again about the prospects for this year’s harvest. After a decidedly cool May and early June, things appear to be warming up and the vines are responding with a rapid burst of growth. The shoots have now grown to 50-80cm in length which has meant we have had to put up the first set of foliage wires. There are two wires that we tuck the shoots between sitting 20-30cm above the fruiting wire. This helps to hold the young shoots in a vertical growth position… hence this type of trellising and training system is called VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning)!

Earlier in the month we went through the process of shoot thinning (this is in addition to the basal shoot removal we did last month!). The purpose of this is to remove any extra shoots from along the cane and around the head of the vine so that all the shoots have plenty of space to grow and the canopy does not become crowded. This is vital if air and sunlight are to reach the developing grapes.

We now enter two weeks of trepidation with flowering of the vines due to start. Vine flowers are tiny and are self-pollinated… but very wet weather can significantly disrupt this… so let’s hope for a dry Wimbledon fortnight! You need to be an optimist to grow grapes in England!

In the winery things are very quiet. This is the time of year we sit down and review everything that happened during our 2014 vintage and wine making and develop plans to try and do things even better in 2015. We also begin tentative harvest plans and are working on ideas to offer a few harvest experience days during October – keep your eyes on our website (www.albourneestate co.uk) or follow us on Twitter (@Albourneestate) for updates if you’d like to get involved.

In the meantime, with the weather looking good please book on one of our tours via our website booking system.

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May at Albourne Estate - English Wine Week - Saturday 23 May is the beginning of English Wine Week. Why not get to know your local producer Albourne Estate, by fixing up a vineyard tour or acquainting yourself with its owner Alison Nightingale and her award winning wines at the Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival on Hove Lawns?

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