Winery Notes - December 2007
Winery Notes - December 2007

I often seem to arrive at the month of December a little out of breath, just in time to post a Winery Note before Christmas and this year is no exception. But, I tell myself, it’s good to be busy, making wine, beginning the long process of winter pruning and labelling and packing bottles ready for the Christmas trade.

The harvest this year was small after a poor flowering in late June/early July. Actually the young wine tastes good because the late autumn was kind to the grapes (and the pickers) and the developing wine has quite an intensity. It should make fine fizz. Catherine and her brother Patrick were among the keen pickers this year. The beautiful photo shows Catherine at work and below it her response when I asked for a few lines about ‘what it meant’ to do the picking at BB.

Sunshine in the vineyard at harvest time.

Catherine, one of this year's pickers
“This year was my second visit to Breaky Bottom during the grape harvest. The whole experience is how I would imagine it to be if you were to spend a day in the Darling Buds of May with the Larkins. You work hard, but you are also treated to a lunchtime feast of delicious home cooked food (and a few glasses of wine). The vineyard is hidden away in such a tranquil and beautiful spot that it feels like a real privilege to spend the day there, and it was interesting to learn a bit about the wine making process. The afternoon picking went by in a bit of a blur after a big lunch, but it was a very pleasant blur listening to all the chatter from people scattered through the vine rows. I am definitely up for helping out again next year!” - Catherine Walsh

Peter with Charles Metcalfe receiving Best of Show award.
The English Wine Festival has moved again and this year became part of the Food and Drink Festival at Glynde Place. Glynde is really stunning and a perfect venue for English wine and all the other fine fare. I hope that this can become the permanent home for showing our wines every summer. The Breaky Bottom 2003 ‘Cuvée Alex Mercier’ was judged ‘Best in Show’ and the whole event was recounted in a nice article by Stephen Moss in the Guardian. Charles Metcalfe was chairman of judges. Charles is co-founder of the hugely successful Wine Magazine and The International Wine Challenge.
There has been a great deal of good publicity for the vineyard throughout the year, in print and on radio and television. Breaky Bottom wine has also been served at several prestigious functions.
See below for details, all relating to the 2003 Sparkling Brut, ‘Cuvée Alex Mercier’.

Peter with Julia Trustram Eve, Marketing Manager for English Wine Producers.
1. Shown on BBC 1 News, New Year’s Eve, a nice recommendation to see in the New Year with the 2003 fizz.
2. An excellent 10 minute piece about Breaky Bottom on the antiques programme ‘Flog It’ on BBC 2. The crew were charming and they made a very professional short film which has attracted a lot of interest (and sales).
3. On 23rd April the wine was featured during the Morning News on BBC 1, suggested for St. George’s day celebrations.
4. The 2003 fizz was served at the British Embassy in Paris at a dinner given for top French chefs and gourmets – on BBC 2, under the title ‘Great British Menu’.
2003 Sparkling wine served at various functions
1. Purchased for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office cellars at Lancaster House, St. James’s, for ministers of the crown and Prime Minister when entertaining overseas guests.
2. Served at the National Gallery for a reception during the George Stubbs exhibition, autumn 2006.
3. Served at Tate Britain - opening of the Hogarth exhibition, February 2007.
4. Launch at the British Museum of Jila Peacock's beautiful book, calligraphically designed illustrations using the text of ten love poems by the Persian poet Hafez.
5. Chosen by the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex for the reception and opening of the major sculpture exhibition by David Nash, Lewes Town Hall, summer 2007.
6. Served at the prestigious Worth Abbey Summer Ball.
7. Exhibited and won Best in Show at The English Wine Festival at Glynde Place, September 2007.
8. Chosen as a ‘Food Hero’ by the excellent Brighton restaurant Terre a Terre.
In Print
Almost too numerous to mention but…
1. You can read the whole article by Stephen Moss of the Guardian on the Wine Festival at Glynde Place.
2. In April 2007 The Independent did a nice tasting of ‘Ten Best British’ (wines) and put the Breaky Bottom Sparkling 2003 at number 1.
3. Although a regional paper, The Brighton Argus did a very fine five page spread on Breaky Bottom Vineyard, with fabulous photos and a well researched and interesting text by Angela Wintle.
4. The March 12th 2007 edition of The New Yorker carried a beautifully written piece by one of their leading contributors, John McPhee. He passed through Breaky Bottom as part of a great journey he was making, following the outcropping chalk across the South Downs, under the Channel and on to Epernay and Champagne country.
Peter Hall - December 2007


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.