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English Wine Vintage 2021

Didn’t really want to open another topic for this, but there was nowhere obvious to tack it onto.
I had an interesting conversation with my cousin the agronomist and consultant, he is retiring and like so many others the virus has curtailed what he could do in the last eighteen months anyway.
It concerns the 2021 in England and it doesn’t look good, in the SW his area all grapes are being picked at least two weeks late because of adverse weather, and although he has not seen other clients reports are not good in other regions either, here in East Anglia we had virtually no sun second half of July and all August and mainstream agriculture crops were not ripening, grapes naturally were suffering the same fate and the weather has not picked up to make a difference.
Reports from some vineyards is that fruit is being left on the vines as it has no wine making value, and outside of the classic English varieties like Bacchus, the likes of Chardonnay and PN are in sever doubt that will ripen enough to be picked at all.
As usual there will areas that get the harvest in but overall it is not looking good.
On a general level we have had not much of a summer at all here in East Anglia so the vineyards must be suffering.

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FWIW - similar stories in Denmark and Poland. A slow start, rather damp and cool summer and heavy frosts earlier this week totally burnt the leaves and so have shut down the grapes. They have harvested what they can but doubt that much will make it to the bottle. They have finished in Poland, more or less, but would have wanted to wait another 2 weeks…

Everyone talks longingly about 2018 and 2019…

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The weather during the ‘summer’ down here in Sussex was pretty poor aside from a couple of very short bursts of warm sun. Not surprised it’s been a poor vintage for growers.

Global warming is real, but it doesn’t guarantee a hot summer every year.

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A tough vintage for everyone I think. Though I understand some vineyards have been able to produce a decent crop, so not a disaster on the scale of 2012, but I suspect that all depends on where you are.

Access to pickers is the new headache, now that the roving bunches of professionals can no longer factor the UK into their plans. Hambledon were saying that this was going to be their limiting factor as to how many grapes they could get in this year, but I haven’t heard how it all worked out yet.

But to keep things in proportion, many of these vineyards were planted with warnings that they should expect two wipeout years every decade. A tough year 9 years after the last wipeout isn’t so bad, though naturally everybody is going to moan about it.

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I cannot speak for any vineyards in the UK other than Chet Valley in Norfolk, just about 8 miles SE of Norwich. We have had a very good vintage, much better than 2020 which was dire as it chucked it down all during September.
This year we have had 20-22 brix in most varieties save for Phoenix which is always low anyway. There has been some Botrytis but on the whole the vintage has been much better than last year, which was horrid due to September rains.
So don’t despair. I think there will be some good Norfolk wines. We will produce some Cabernet noir (unoaked), Pinot Noir rosé, solaris and Schoenburger.

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You are right about getting things in proportion, we are talking about agriculture and every year is different, varying weather patterns create different problems all the time, this year again in East Anglia which is the ‘bread basket’ of the country farmers again because of the lack of sun were talking about crops failing to ripen across the board so it is not just grapes.
Yet many have turned things round, it can all be seen here…

And think back a few decades to when the Loire and Germany failed in the majority of vintages to produce decent wine through lack of heat and sun on the grapes.

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