Unlock at Oatley.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Woohoo!! We’re opening May 1 and you can now book online. Sooo looking forward to sharing Oatley again! Picnics, children and dogs VERY welcome. A great way to meet up with family and friends outside in safety and enjoy something normal, like tasting delicious dry white wines and lingering over a leisurely picnic in the Somerset countryside.

For now, so as to be really Covid-secure, all visits must be pre-booked and we’ll be welcoming just one party at a time. Iain and I are lucky enough to have had our first jab, and by then should have had our second, but of course we’re still being very cautious to keep everyone safe when they come. Details on our Visit Page where you can check availability and book. 

Meanwhile in the vineyard, the work goes on pretty much as usual. With help from Ned and Paula we have finished pruning except for Frost Corner, down at the bottom of the vineyard near the gate. That block was wiped out by the May frost last year, so we’re leaving it really late, hoping that that will keep the important buds dormant a little longer. Now it’s a race to get everything else tied down horizontal before the buds start to swell and make working the canes tricky. Then there are 26 replacement posts to knock in and wire and general sprucing up for visitors before everything kicks off for the summer.

Ned and Paula have a website, where you can read about their move to Somerset to prepare the top of the vineyard field for their own new planting. It’s called  “Oatley Vineyard - The Next Generation(s). Check it out here>>. They have been here on and off over the last few months to oversee the preparing of the land and plan the conversion of one of the Oatley barns to live in, as well as helping us with pruning our old vines. It’s been lovely to see a fair bit of them, and a luxury in lockdown, but so strange to be social distancing with our own family. Especially two-year-old grand-twins Albert and Edith. 

Like so many of you we haven’t seen the European (Copenhagen) branch of our family for a year or had the chance to say hello to 3 year old granddaughter Liv but the big news is she now has a new little brother, Felix, born last month. Can’t wait to meet him!

And the wines? Sadly there’ll be no “Jane’s 2020”. The Madeleine Angevine harvest - the grapes that make “Jane’s” -  was much reduced owing to last year’s frost on the bottom block of Madeleine Angevine vines and a nasty wasp attack on the top block. What we did have has all gone into our barrels.  So we are going to be a bit short of “Jane’s” wines later in the year, but for the moment we've still got two thirds of the 2019, so we’ll be OK for a bit. 

We have sold out of older vintages of “Leonora’s” and have now released the 2018, which we have plenty of. We’re really thrilled with its quality, though it’s still a bit young and will improve with a bit more age. Soon the 2020 vintage will be home as well, with new Leonora’s and maybe the new Barrel Matured. 

And very soon we’re going to have our very own Traditional Method Sparkling! Regular readers will remember that the 2019 Kernling grapes, the ones that usually make “Leonora’s", are being made sparkly. They have gone to Dan’s winery in Wiltshire, to rest on the lees after their malo-lactic fermentation at our usual winemaker Steve's and soon the first batch will be disgorged. It was so delicious when we tasted it in November that we've been selling some of it, undisgorged, still with its crown cork and yeast deposit, as “Pet Nat” over the winter (see last blogpost).  1000 bottles are now being “riddled”,when the bottles are tipped up and turned to bring the yeast deposit down to the crown cork. Then, following the traditional Champagne method, the bottle necks will be frozen, the crown stoppers with be released, along with their plug of yeast, the bottle will be topped up with the same wine and corked and wired with a Champagne cork. And then it’ll be ready for you to taste! 

We’ve tasted samples again recently, and opted for zero dosage - ie no sugar added with that wine top-up. So it will be fully dry. Follow our day to day news on Instagram or Facebook for news of its release. Won’t be too long. Starting to think about a label...

Here’s hoping things are on the up, at last! Hope see you here, one day!

All the best, Jane