Oatley Vineyard, Cannington, Somerset. Vineyard parcels of 1.25 acres : Kernling upper block, Kernling lower block. Planted by hand 1987 by the Awty family and hand tended by them ever since.
Upper block double Guyot trained on 90 cm-high wire, vertical shoot positioned. Bottom block DG pruned on 160 cm single wires, hanging canes.
The vineyard is on well-drained, fertile red sandy loam, pH 6.5 over spring-bearing red mudstone, with a gentle, sheltered SE slope, 30m above sea level at the top.
Grown on sustainable, regenerative principles, no herbicides or insecticides. Sward allowed to grow up to seed every year then mulched in. Highly biodiverse environment has regenerated over 30years, which helps to keep a goodinsect balance and avoid any pests becoming abundant. 1 year vine canes mulched in after winter pruning, older wood dried and used to heat the farmhouse. Some fungicides applied as preventives early in the year, well below permitted levels, using integrated pest management principles to keep them to the minimum. Only farmyard manure, hay mulch and chipped hedge-trimmings from the estate are used as fertiliser. The vines are hand tended and picked, with minimal soil compaction.
In 2019 the budburst timing was normal in the last week of April. No late spring frosts, and flowering was also at normal time at the end of June, September was dry and sunny. However the Kernling vines are always end-of-season ripening and were carrying a very heavy crop after the hot vintage of 2018 (the flower bud embryos start to form in the July of the preceding year, and high temperatures mean a heavier crop the next year). Ripening was slow as the vines struggled to make enough sugar for the heavy crop as the autumn weather deteriorated in October with rain every day. We were relieved to avoid botrytis by the skin of our teeth and the grapes reached harvest in amazingly good condition.
27th October 2019, a golden, cloudless day. There had been an inch of rain in the 36 hours pre-harvest when the grapes were fully-ripe and increasingly fragile. But the day dawned clear, with a grass frost, and continued mainly sunny. Day max 14C, over Sunday night min 4C. Picked by volunteers (20) who were selective, rejecting under-ripe grapes at the bottom ofthe slope, and any bunches with botrytis. Even so it was a big harvest, 97 tubs, around 3.5 tons.
Free run juice 73 Oe, 12g/l acid.
The base wine was made for us by Steve Brooksbank, Bagborough Vineyards, our usual winemaker. It was fermented in stainless steel, half of it was put through a malo-lactic fermentation, and then it was bottled under crown cap 13 August 2020, 2959 bottles.This wine was sold Dec 20 - May 21, pre-disgorging, as our popular Pet Nat.
The wine was shipped to Daniel Ham, Offbeat Wines. near Salisbury, for storage and disgorging. The first 1000 bottles were disgorged and corked at the endof Apr 2021 and is available as Batch 1 with zero dosage, tasting very like the Pet Nat but without the yeast. Batch 2, another 1000 bottles, was disgorged in Dec 2021 after 16 months on the lees.