the grapes begin


The vineyard, 1 acre in area, was planted with 75% Pinot Noir (the Burgundy clone 115, and the Champagne clones 521 and 386) and 25% Chardonnay (clones 96 (Burgundy) and 277 (Champagne).


The rootstock, 41B, produces vines of medium vigour, somewhat slow maturing, and with very good resistance to chlorosis (the effect of an alkaline soil that manifests itself in yellowing leaves).


Because the Chardonnay are about a week, and sometimes more than a week, later to ripen than the Pinot Noir, the selection of ripe bunches only at harvest means that the proportion of Chardonnay sent to the winery tends to be less than 25% (in 2010 it was 20%, in 2013 5%).

 “The best grapes in the world are perhaps grown in England, though England is not a land of grapes.”  Anthony Trollope Rachel Ray (1863). When Trollope wrote these words he was no doubt thinking of dessert grapes grown in a greenhouse. (Sadly 1863 was the fateful year when the devastating Phylloxera first made its European appearance, in a greenhouse in Hammersmith, on vines infected by vines imported from America.) But the statement could well apply today to grapes grown for sparkling wine.

ripe grapes in the East Meon Vineyard