There are many key moments in the vineyard year but none for me so poignant as when the grapes start to ripen and go through veraison. This is truly the start of the countdown to harvest and this year the English climate has scored a hit with weather to match our European neighbours.
Veraison is the point where ripening begins and the grapes begin to change colour and accumulate sugar. It's now, and only at this stage, that we have begun to allow ourselves to plan this year's wine production.
Our Pinot Precoce, selected for its earlier ripening, is leading the charge and looks ready to be picked in early September. Even later ripening grapes such as Pinot Noir, Dornfelder and Bacchus are showing signs of much earlier ripening than in previous years.
With the weather in our favours, it's looking like we'll have an early harvest, and from here on in its fingers crossed that our friendly animal and bird life don't take too much of a likening to this year's crop.