Hello friends and wine lovers, we hope this harvest summary finds you well! The Estate’s been a hive of activity here since the September newsletter – let us share the news with you!
Thursday 5th October was a significant date here on the Estate as the final bunch of ‘2023’ vintage grapes were picked and processed in the Winery.
Conditions during our harvest were absolutely textbook; the Crouch Valley’s infamous big blue skies kept us company throughout the entire 5 week picking period. Who would have thought that just a month ago we were breaking out the ice lollies to keep our vineyard team cool!! The dry, sunny weather meant that we could plan our picking schedule around achieving ideal fruit ripeness instead of working around weather pressure. Our microclimate here in Purleigh means that we generally finish the harvest before the autumnal rains set in, a fact which we never take for granted. Well done to everyone involved this year – Cheers to Vintage 2023!!
We’re celebrating people in this newsletter, starting with New Hall’s newest team member, Joe!
Joe Styrin, who hails from sunny Dorset, recently joined Plumpton College’s Wine Division to start a Level 3 Apprenticeship as a Viticultural Crop Technician. This Apprenticeship scheme is relatively new to the UK and has been born out of the increasing career opportunities and demand for viticulturists within the UK wine industry.
Estate Manager Andy comments; "I’m delighted that Joe’s joined the vineyard team and signed onto Plumpton’s prestigious apprenticeship scheme. It’s such an exciting time for us here at Newhall and for UK viticulture in general and we’re keen to train the vineyard stars of the future!”
Jo’s been an instant hit here with the team. Enthusiastic and with super-human energy (we’re slightly jealous), Jo thinks nothing of following a long, gruelling day on the vineyard with a workout at the gym or a rugby training session. Asked on how he’s found his first six weeks at New Hall, Jo says:
“It’s been brilliant to start work during the thick of harvest because I’ve got stuck in with the rest of the team and have enjoyed the rapport and banter between us. Some of our new friends from the picking team hosted a couple of special dinners for me, so I could taste their cuisine and learn more about their culture. The early starts are worth it; recently we were ready to start harvest on Church Hill in time to watch the sunrise, the view was awesome. The first thing you notice in Purleigh are the open skies which are pretty standout."
It’s fair to say that our Olly and Jacque have proven to be a formidable team this harvest. Although both only joined the team last summer, they’ve hit the ground running and are a force to be reckoned with. Calm, concise and extremely talented (and did we mention, great fun) Jacque and Olly have made their mark on the 2023 fruit.
The first frost of the season earlier this week was a rude awakening for Jacque, who recently moved to the Crouch Valley from South Africa, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm! “It’s been a great experience working with our energetic and fun team. The number of different varietals coming into the winery is quite surprising but as a winemaker is really interesting. I have a personal passion for red wines and have enjoyed developing the wines in barrel – watch this space! Highlights have been Fish and Chip Friday, lowlights have been…not enough beer!”
Olly’s been proud of his vibrant team this year, and they clearly love working for him and Jacque. “The most challenging part of the 2023 harvest has been managing picking-windows for the fruit, as many parcels had ideal acids at the same time. We sometimes encounter years where we are ‘picking for acids’ and this was certainly one of those. I’m really looking forward to starting to form the 2023 blends – but we have plenty of racking, filtering and disgorging to do ahead of that!”
So how do our winemakers relax after the harvest? Jacque’s chill out time is spent with his PS5, while Olly loves nothing more than a pint and roast at the local. Well deserved, chaps!!