Less of it and more expensive after dismal summer: that’s the message for English wine as it will have to rise in price in future years as a direct result of this year’s atrocious weather, following the smallest crop for two decades, say Roger and Juliet White, owners of Yearlstone Vineyard near Exeter.
Roger says: “[This year was] the nearest thing to a complete wash out as we have experienced in our 17 years here. The final crop was under one ton of Madeleine Angevine and under a third of a ton of Dornfelder and Seyval Blanc.
“We did not pick: -
- Pinot Noir
- Pinot Gris
“This compares to our target production of 15 tons from our seven acres. Fortunately we have relatively large stocks of 2009 and 2010 sparkling wine in cellar, and also tank reserves of 2011 rose and some 2011 red.”
The vineyard’s expansion plans for 2013 will have to be put on hold so the Whites can fulfil the current loyal customer base. Roger says: “I’m afraid there will be upward pressure on prices next year – but we will hold the prices for 2012.The wash out has been universal in our experience in the South West with similar experiences at vineyards we have close links to in Hertfordshire and Kent.
“Some vineyards are “spinning” that they have had good crops – but many of us are treating these claims with some scepticism as marketing manoeuvres.”
On the positive side, the couple have launched the Yearlstone Food & Wine Club with the first event becoming oversubscribed within a week of putting tickets on sale.
Roger says: “We will be publishing a list of Food & Wine Club events on the website shortly for the next 12 months once we have worked them out ourselves. All Club events will include an update on our new wines and special tastings. At the end of the evening there will be special wineoffers as well to Club members.”
The Italian sparkling wine competition Bollecino takes place in November and this year for the first time the Whites have entered our 2009 Vintage Brut with 27 months on the lees.
He concludes: “So – a dismal season and a real setback to the momentum building behind Devon wines – but one shared by wine regions across north-western Europe. The online shop and the vineyard shop are open for business and will have first refusal on wines that are in danger of running out!”