Oxney Harvest 2023
Oxney Harvest 2023
Autumn is a magical time at the vineyard, it’s all about the grapes… We watch them ripen, schedule them for picking dates, bring them to the crush pad, weigh them, pop them in the press, send their juice to tank, let it settle, rack it to sparkling clean tanks or barrel, start them on their journey of fermentation and then, babysit.
It is full on for weeks, and then, as they sleep and dream in their vessels, there is time for reflection of the vintage, recalling what Mother Nature sent our way for the season and revelling in the beauty of all of the vineyard events from bud-burst to rapid shoot development, flowering, fruit set, bunch closure, veraison and finally harvest.
Harvest 2023 was a bountiful year, though the wet brought on a bit of disease pressure, we were able to harvest the majority of our crop with clean, absolutely lovely fruit.
Ripeness and sugars were very high, which was a little surprising after all of that rain July and August. The bunches were heavy and we managed to harvest 50 tonnes of fruit. There was a lot of whole bunch pressing and crushing to give as many blending options as possible. Salvatore certainly had his work cut out for him playing Tetris in the winery, finding tanks and barrels to place the many different clones of juice into. All the while, he remained calm, cool and collected, it is such a joy to watch him work.
Tasting the fruit as we press is a always fascinating. This year in particular, we found distinct flavours between the different Chardonnay clones. As we ferment in small batches, we have an opportunity to ‘play’ in the winery – maybe we will make two different still Chardonnays? Maybe multi vintage? Maybe more time in stainless vs barrels? Time will tell!
Sebastian, our vineyard manager, assisted Salvatore, practising his winery skills. They make a great team, and it took a bit of the pressure off of Kristin as she ran around making the logistics of harvest run smoothly as well as hosting tours during the week and travelling at home and abroad for wine events.
There was also a bit of fun had experimenting with indigenous yeasts from the wild berries in our hedgerows. They weren’t used in the winemaking, but it was fun to watch which ones starting bubbling first, how vigorous the ferment was and check out the smells and aromas.
All in all, we are grateful for the fruit and look forward to see how all of the intense work of organic farming pays off when we taste through the wines over the course of the winter. Spring will be here soon enough, and we will do it ALL over again. Could we be the luckiest people in the world, or complete suckers for punishment? Mother nature will dictate, and we will follow her lead.