As the 2020 harvest begins, Lyme Bay Winery announces its red wine plans with 30 tonnes of pinot noir grapes arriving at the beginning of October.
Over the last two years, the Lyme Bay team have been working purposefully to identify those few specific sites with microclimates offering the highest ripening potential in the entire country.
Red wine production in the UK presents a challenge with ripeness, and thus consistency, due to the climate. However, 2020 has been an excellent year for the grapes culminating in a final burst of warm, sunny weather since the end of August.
James Lambert, managing director, LBW Drinks said: “Whether the requirement was for pinot noir, chardonnay or bacchus, the sites we work with have to offer the potential for producing only the best quality grapes the UK is able to offer. However, the more ambitious, long-term aim had been to demonstrate the UK’s potential for the as yet elusive goal: consistent, high-quality red wine production.”
The precious cargo will be going straight from field to winery as soon as the grapes are picked from the vineyards in Essex. The grapes will then be specially selected by the wine makers at Lyme Bay to ensure the finest quality wine.
The winery has not made a red wine since 2016 when a small run of 1400 bottles arrived to critical acclaim and sold out almost immediately. The creation of the 2020 Pinot Noir will make Lyme Bay Winery the one of the largest red wine producers in the UK.
James added: “We are exceptionally proud of the award-winning wines we create at Lyme Bay Winery. English wine continues to grow in popularity and our aim has always been to grow and evolve also. Wines like pinot noir and chardonnay did not seem like a possibility when English wine was in its infancy, but now, we are playing on the world stage with our still wines.”
The winery is expecting around 270 tonnes of grapes over the next few weeks for this harvest and is working 24 hour shifts throughout. Destemming, crushing and pressing will mainly take place during the day shifts, while the night shifts will look after fermentation.
“2020 will also be the year of chardonnay.” Continued James. “Along with the pinot noir, this is another grape that has thrived in the summer we have had this year. Again, we work with specially selected growers to ensure we receive the best grapes and can reach the pinnacle of quality with the wines we produce.”
The 2020 Chardonnay will be fermented in a higher percentage of oak and new oak giving the wine an unparalleled complexity and depth, enhanced by a delayed release date for the 2020 vintage.
The winery is passionate about producing exceptional still wines, and works with growers on planting specific still wine grapes for their wines, rather than trying to make still wines from sparkling wine grapes.
James continued: “The grapes this year will have a similar quality to 2018. Already, the bacchus is some of the most aromatic and ripe that I’ve experienced, with the promise of more to come. 2018 was unprecedented for English wine, so we are expecting great things for all our wines from this harvest. It’s looking like a classic vintage and everyone at the winery is very excited to be creating these wines.”