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Spring is in the air at Albourne Estate

PUBLISHED: 10:20 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 10:20 24 March 2015

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Albourne Estate is springing into action this March, with the first sign of growth from the vines, the start of bottling for its 2014 vintage and plans to take part in the Brighton Wine Fair at Hotel du Vin next month. Alison Nightingale, the owner of the award-winning vineyard near to Hurstpierpoint, explains...

March is a lovely month as it now really feels like spring is on its way. With the days lengthening and getting warmer the vines are showing the first signs of growth as sap rises and oozes out of the pruning cuts as we now race ahead to get all our pruning finished and the canes tied down.

As the ground has dried out rapidly, we are finally able to get back on the vineyard with the tractor. We started with mulching the vine prunings and spreading green waste compost to add valuable organic matter to the vineyard and improve long term soil structure. Next we are spreading lime in certain areas to re-dress the pH balance of the soil. Finally, we are sub-soiling to remove compaction where the tractor tyres track every time they go up and down a row, followed by harrowing to remove the ridges and create a smooth surface for seeding. We are going to experiment with a few seed mixes for the seeding involving some clovers, chicory and yellow trefoil and dwarf grasses with the aim of establishing a rapid cover that will improve nutrition, soil structure and organic matter levels.

In the winery we are just as busy with the start of bottling. So far we have bottled the 2014 Estate Selection and White Pinot Noir. The photo above shows the bottles as they come off the end of the line.

On April 25, we will be sampling some of these wines for the first time at the 2015 Brighton Wine Fair event at Hotel du Vin. Tickets available from www.brightonwinefair.com. Please do come along or book onto one of our Tours: www.albourneestate.co.uk

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READ ON

Sheep at Albourne Estate help keep on top of the workload - Alison Nightingale, Albourne Estate - February is a busy month for award-winning wine producer Alison Nightingale, but her children’s ‘pet’ sheep are helping her keep on top of the workload at her vineyard, the Albourne Estate, near Hurstpierpoint.

What is it like to run your own vineyard in the UK? - Alison Nightingale, owner of Albourne Estate - I set up Albourne Estate, a 30 acre vineyard and winery near Brighton, in 2010 and last year we launched our first wines. In this monthly column I’ll be telling you about my experiences.

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