Winery Notes - December 2006

Breaky Bottom Vineyard and WineryA Wonderful Vintage

The grape harvest this year has been one of the finest I have known. Spring was cool and budburst late but when the weather finally warmed up it stayed that way and the vines caught up with the calendar. Late June and early July were hot and dry and we had a perfect fruit-set. The heat-wave continued and a regular drought set in, the grass browned off while the vines remained livid green.

We picked over 12 days, finishing on 19th October, and pressed out three large stainless steel vats, all destined for sparkling. Harvest was a week earlier than average with good ripeness because of the fine summer. The warm damp weather in September and early October provided ideal conditions for moulds and rot to spread. Our early start gave us a crop of near-perfect clean grapes but some English vineyards suffered severely and lost half of their potential crop.

Breaky Bottom - Chardonnay GrapesThe young Chardonnay planted 5 years ago cropped at six tons to the acre (photo left, by my son Tom’s wife, Stephanie). They will become part of the 2006 cuvée and, as the 2004 plantation of Chardonnay and Pinot establishes, these Champagne varieties will have an increasing influence on the Breaky Bottom house style, without I believe, loosing the central contribution made so successfully by the Seyval Blanc since the first fizz vintage in 1994.

Breaky Bottom - View of the vineyardI also like Stephanie’s picture right, the track leading to the flint barn winery on the right. For a brief few days this autumn it became a busy thoroughfare delivering 22 tons of grapes to the press – it’s also nice to be reminded of the sunshine….

All the wines are available from the vineyard - by appointment, 01273 476 427 – and by mail order.

They are also stocked at these retail outlets.

Recent Press Comments

It is encouraging that we continue to receive good notices in the press.

• Telegraph of 23rd October - Wine correspondent Jonathan Ray included in his article ‘The Best of British’ the Breaky Bottom fizz in his top five English wines.

• December’s Decanter Magazine writes of stylish restaurants listing top English wines, with Breaky Bottom still and sparkling being served at Moshi Moshi, the Japanese sushi restaurant chain in London and Brighton.

• On a more local level there is a nice article in December’s Sussex Life about five suppliers of Christmas fare – with Breaky Bottom providing the sparkle, of course.