From vine to bottle… (and all that comes in between)
This week marks the culmination of another year’s hard work and dedication for Mereworth Wines, tending to the grapes in their vineyard in Wateringbury, as their 2020 harvest comes to a close.
Harvest at the vineyards is by no means an easy job and at times seems so at odds with the perfect simplicity of sipping a clean, crisp glass of English Sparkling wine.
It takes years of nurturing the vines in all weathers, toiling in muddy conditions and back-breaking hard work to bring about each vintage of Mereworth Wines’ elegant, award-winning sparkling wine. This paradox is never more apparent than during the frenetic time of harvest when all the effort comes to a head. “There have been long days of immensely hard work, there has been mud and lots of rain, but it has all been worth it. We wait the whole year for this,” owner Will Boscawen explains.
Mereworth Wines planted their vineyards in Wateringbury in 2016, in the perfect spot on the south facing slopes of the Kent downs. A year later, they transformed the old oast at Brewers Hall, Mereworth, into a winery. Here, owner Will Boscawen and wine-maker Scott Gebbie convert all the hard work in the vineyard into exceptional sparkling wine, which has travelled only a mile in its production.
Harvest is such an exciting time for any vineyard, and this harvest has been a particularly bountiful one for Mereworth Wines, who have experienced their greatest yield to date. Following ideal conditions over the year, the cool weather over the last month or so meant the grapes could be kept on the vine for longer, lowering the acid levels to where they needed to be. Rainy conditions holding off until the approach of harvest also helped to favour the vintage, with the Chardonnay grapes flowering more abundantly than ever, and the Pinot Noir grapes ripe and packed full of flavour.
Mereworth Wines’ ‘White From Black’ 2018 is their first ever vintage: a traditional English white sparkling wine made from black Pinot grapes – celebratory of its roots in the Garden of England, and produced entirely by Will and winemaker Scott Gebbie. Released in April 2020, this wine has already received a silver award in the Wines Of Great Britain Awards and is available for purchase from www.mereworthwines.co.uk. Their next addition to the family will be their ‘White From White’, which will be ready for release early next year, made from their Chardonnay grapes.