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Birds eggs, beautiful weather and bumper crops

Harvest has now finished here at Poulton Hill Vineyard and it has been a very fruitful year. We have spent the past few weeks testing the grapes to check which are ready to pick, then heading into the vines with our team of volunteers, secateurs in hand. Now the fruit is all picked and is at the winery.

Harvest is a one of the most exciting times for us. It is when we see the results of all our hard work in nurturing and protecting our crop quite literally come to fruition. This year we had a bumper harvest of our white grapes — the Seyval Blanc, Phoenix and Bacchus. The Bacchus yield alone increased from around 2 tonnes in 2017 to just over 9.6 tonnes this year, which is fantastic. The red grapes, the Regent and Rondo varietal, were also rich, juicy and plump. But we still have to wait a few years before we can harvest our first crop of Pinot Noir grapes. Altogether, our 2018 harvest yielded 21.9825 tonnes of grapes, up from 15.354 last year.

Harvest 2018 started a month earlier than last year, thanks to the wonderfully warm summer this year. But we still had to be careful and make sure we picked the right time to start picking. When the temperatures dip at night, the acidity levels in the grapes increases. When there is rain, the grapes plump up reducing sugar levels.

There have been a few surprises this year. A small bird’s nest containing eggs was found nestled in amongst the Bacchus grapes. Obviously, we are taking such good care of our grapes that the mother bird felt safe enough to nest there too.

Although harvesting the grapes is hard, physical work (the vines are kept short and most of the time you have to bend or stoop to pick them) it is also very enjoyable. Picking in pairs, either side of the vine, means you always have someone to talk to and often the volunteers work with people they have not met before. Friendships are made during the picking and over the harvest lunch midway through the day.

The other wonderful thing about harvest is, when you pour that glass of Poulton Hill next year, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you were involved in getting it there.

So, let’s all raise a glass to harvest 2018!

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