Grape source: Oatley Vineyard, Cannington, Somerset. Vineyard parcels: Madeleine upper block, Madeleine lower block. Planted by hand 1987 by the Awty family and tended by them ever since. Trained on 90 cm-high originally spur-pruned cordons, converted to double guyot 2015.
Grown on sustainable principles, no herbicides or insecticides. Some fungicides, well below permitted levels, applied as preventives early in the year, using integrated pest management to keep them to the minimum. Only our own farmyard manure, hay mulch and chipped hedge-trimmings as fertiliser, highly biodiverse environment, hand tended and picked, with minimal soil compaction.
Budburst in 2018 was slightly late after a wet winter and a cold, snowy spell in early spring - "The Beast from the East". No late spring frosts though, and then we had record warm and sunny weather from May to September, with the occasional rainy few hours to swell the grapes, making it our earliest harvest ever for the 2nd year running, by 1 day, with the grapes riper than we normally pick the Madeleine but acidity holding up well, better than in 2017.
Harvest: 16th September 2018, showers threatened but didn’t materialise.
The crop was heavier than we’d realised and it was 3.30 pm when we sat down to our harvest meal. As well as the team of volunteers, the whole family buckled down and picked. Grapes were clean, exceptional condition, no wasp, little bird damage, no disease.
Jane's blogpost about the harvest day here >> , photo gallery here>>
Winemaker: Steve Brooksbank, Bagborough Lane, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6SX. Madeleine
Crushing/pressing 17 Sep 2018.
Wine chaptalised to raise alcohol to 11.5%, vinified in stainless steel tanks. Minimum intervention winemaking. Fermented out to full dryness. Filtered before bottling using mineral filter.