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Oxney Vineyard in Flower

vineyard in flower

Our vineyard is flowering in each of our beloved grape varietals…

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Meunier

The weather could not be more perfect for this very important time in the vineyard.

The heady aromas that hit you when you walk through our vineyard at flowering fills us with such elated hope each year. Now, we just have to pray Mother Nature is kind during this period to ensure excellent fruit set. What does that kind of weather look like?

  • warm temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees celsius to aid in quick bunch development
  • sunshine to keep the flowers dry
  • gentle breezes to blow the ‘caps’ off the flowers

Grapes are unable to grow and ripen well in very cool temperatures, and our cool climate here in the UK can be sketchy at times. This year, even though the threat of frost left Kristin with many sleepless nights in early May, we have had idyllic weather for a healthy canopy and flowering, thus far!

The sun decided to really show itself these last few days, bringing on flowering in each of our five unique vineyard plots. Thompson was the first to show off some flowers in the Chardonnay, then Dobson, Knut and Isak. Hunt is a bit behind the rest, but four out of five is better than some previous years we have experienced.  Grape vines are self pollinators, so if the rain decides to join the summer fun, it can be very detrimental to the success of the flowers’ pollination and result in poor fruit set reducing the size of the crop considerably.

So, not only is the sun, warmth and lack of rain helping to create the ideal conditions for excellent fruit set, we also require a breeze to help blow off the calyptra, or ‘cap’ that needs to be shed in order for the pollen to be exposed. It has been recorded that honey bees are wonderful helpers in the vineyard for doing just that. We generally rely on the wind that is fairly consistent here as we are only five miles from the sea breezes that blow. That doesn’t stop us though from encouraging as many bees and other beneficial insects to join in on the cap removal party.

When cold and/or rainy conditions occur, we can end up with something called shatter, or coulure, which is berries in clusters with differing sizes due to some flowers not being fertilised at flowering. While it can be beneficial to some styles of wine, it can generally reduce your crop at harvest. We are a few weeks away from seeing the results in the vineyard. Once flowering is over, we can then start doing some leaf removal around the clusters to enable them to have contact with the sun and creating air flow to reduce any disease pressure from powdery and downy mildew.

Suffice it to say, Mother Nature dictates how we farm here at Oxney, and she definitely keeps us on our toes. It may take a bit more work in the vineyard to grow organic grapes successfully, yet, when we are pulling off gorgeous fruit that was nurtured by our amazing team, we can let the wine speak for itself and that is our love language.

In good health!

The Team at Oxney