Thursday, October 13, 2016

Harvest with Harrow & Hope

I was lucky to be invited by Kaye Laithwaite to join the harvest of Pinot Noir grapes on the Harrow & Hope vineyard this morning. I have to say it is back-breaking work and I am amazed at the seasoned pickers who work from 7am-7pm, but I left with a sense of achievement that comes from hard work and a full stomach thanks to the gorgeous Barbara Laithwaite who served a delicious lunch. 

H&H hand pick their grapes allowing selection of prime grapes with minimal damage, which is important for this small vineyard. Hand-picking grapes is also important for regions with steep aspects, such as Mosel, Duoro, and Northern Rhône. Mechanical picking can't be used for wines that require whole-bunch grapes, such as Champagne and Beaujolais. As you would expect, machine harvesting is cheaper and easier, but can also be valuable for night-picking which is required for Sauvignon Blanc grapes which over-ripen very quickly once picked.

The juice that was pressed this morning by Henry Laithwaite was like no grape juice I've ever tasted, it was intense, refined, and like nectar. I can't wait to try the Harrow & Hope English sparkling wine that my grapes make!

If you would like to find out more about the story of Harrow & Hope and the wines they make, take a look at their website

If you would like to learn how to grow vines or make wine, you can take courses at Plumpton College in Sussex

If you want to work in vineyards in the UK, or need help setting up your own vineyard, get in touch with Vine Works

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