The Oxney Top Ten of 2021
Get the Oxney on ice, for we have nearly made it through 2021.
It’s been an eventful, emotional and decidedly odd year, but down here in Sussex we’ve kept plugging away, rolling with the meteorological punches, welcoming hundreds of visitors and releasing some exciting new organic wines that make us prouder than ever of the Oxney project.
What memories will be take from 2021? Plenty of good ones, for sure. Here’s a very light-hearted rundown of ten things that have defined the year for us.
1 Feathered Farmhand
We don’t have a partridge in a pear tree but we do now have a solitary buzzard watching over the vines for us. He moved into the vineyard this year and is doing a sterling job around harvest, scaring away smaller birds with a taste for our grapes (particularly starlings). Thanks Buzz, keep up the good work!
2 Tractor Drivers
With the arrival of Ray, Paul finally has a Fendt-driving friend. And look how pleased he is! The tractor does so much of the heavy work at Oxney, from mowing, weeding, trimming and leaf-stripping through to spraying our range of natural anti-fungal treatments on the vines. It’s great to have you on board, Ray.
3 Disgorging Buckets
When you makes traditional-method sparkling wines, it’s always nice to uphold a few of the old traditions. For us, one of those is disgorging our magnums by hand. It’s fun and rewarding, but it also turns out to be a very messy affair. Three bucket required, no overalls spared.
4 Wines on Saturdays
We love welcoming visitors to the vineyard and spend the whole season looking forward to tours on Saturdays. Every tour group is treated to a quartet of Oxney’s finest. This season it was our Classic Rosé, Classic Chardonnay, Classic 2017 and our new 2020 still Chardonnay.
5 Brilliant Bottlers
That’s bottlers in the nicest sense of the word. Our bottling line is very manual and it’s a five-person job. This year Charlie, Tamsin, Julie, Paul, Salvatore, George and the two Marks have variously put in shifts on the line and we’re incredibly grateful for their tirelessly efficient hard work. Dedication, bottled.
We’ve put together some new mixed cases this year, including a six-bottle Mixed Classic Vintage Case that showcases the effects of maturation on our vintage sparkling wines from 2015 through to 2018. It’s a chance to literally taste time passing, which isn’t something you get to do every day.
Making wine definitely puts the labour into labour of love. It’s a non-stop job attending to (and worrying about) the grapes on the vine and the wines in the winery. We wouldn’t have it any other way: the hard graft and ever-changing schedule is what gets us up in the morning and sends us off for a well-earned sleep at night.
8 Vintages And Counting
Was it really 2014 when we brought in our first harvest and started on those first bottles of Oxney? We remember it like it was yesterday, but we also remember all the lessons we’ve learned since. Every year we build on our successes and failures alike, and every year we enjoy it more and more. Roll on Vintage #9.
9 Remarkable Romanians
The secret behind every well-tended vineyard in England, including ours. All growing season long, the delightful Bogdan and his crew of viticultural marvels make acre after acre of vines immaculate in a blur of snippers. We’re raising a glass to the fastest and most professional team in the business this New Year’s Eve.
10 Years Old
We hand-planted our first vines in May 2012, so 2022 sees us celebrating our 10th birthday. What a journey it’s been; so many friends made, hurdles overcome and highlights to look fondly back on. But enough of looking back. Now to start writing the second decade of the Oxney story…
On that note, it’s time to bid a fond(ish) farewell to 2021 and look forward to new beginnings in 2022. From all at Oxney, wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.