Awards and tours at Albourne Estate vineyard

PUBLISHED: 09:54 11 August 2015

Alison being presented with the trophy at the awards lunch in London

Alison being presented with the trophy at the awards lunch in London


All the hard work is paying off for Alison Nightingale with her Albourne Estate vineyard just outside of Hurstpierpoint winning a prestigious top English wine award, just two years into production

Tractor with trimmer moving down the rows of vinesTractor with trimmer moving down the rows of vines

Juggling the running of a vineyard with looking after three children can be challenging and never more so, as many working mums will appreciate, than during school holidays.

But all the hard work and stress seems worthwhile when I received the brilliant news the other week that our Bacchus 2014 wine was awarded the trophy for the UK Wine of the Year 2015 by the judges in the annual English & Welsh Wine Competition.

What is particularly special for us is that it’s a great accolade for only our second ever vintage – winning over the highest number of wines ever entered for this competition, more than 320 other sparkling and still white and red wines. I now have a few big pieces of silverware to display in the tasting room!

In the vineyard things have been progressing slower than I would have liked due to the rather cool July we’ve experienced. Nevertheless, the vines have put on plenty of growth and we’ve had to raise the top trellising wires and trim the vines to keep them manageable and allow machinery passage.

Above, you can see the tractor with the trimmer on moving down the rows of vines – with so much growth coming off it piles up on the front. It’s like a giant hedge trimmer!

Following on from the trimming we have been using my newest bit of kit – a leaf remover. This is a clever device with rotating rollers and a fan that plucks off leaves within the zone around the developing grape bunches. This is a critical step (which we previously did by hand) in ensuring that the maximum amount of sunlight and air reaches the grapes to help them ripen and prevent rot developing. Apart from this – we carry on the never ending fight against weeds.

Luckily, the winery remains very quiet – with the focus on sales and tours. We would love more people to book on our Saturday tours and we are beginning to get excellent review feedback on Trip Advisor… so please spread the word.

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