“What makes us unique at Nyetimber and sets us apart is our attention to detail” – Brad Greatrix, Winemaker
Nyetimber are pleased to announce that today, 7th October 2021, marks the first day of our harvest season. With estate owned vineyards spanning across three counties – West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent – this year’s 280 hectares will be the largest area harvested to date by us and will produce over one million bottles of sparkling wine.
Harvest is a time for celebration at Nyetimber. It is the culmination of all the incredible hard work put in throughout the year by Winemaker couple, Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, Viticulturist Ben Kantsler and their teams.
What does harvest look like at Nyetimber?
At Nyetimber, we are proud to use 100% estate grown grapes to produce our wines. All our vineyard sites have been carefully selected for their ideal elements: all have gentle south facing slopes and the vines are grown on either greensand or chalk soils.
During the long growing season, we carefully monitor the acid and sugar levels in the fruit, and the developing complexities in the flavours in the grapes. Once they reach peak ripeness, Cherie, Brad and Ben lay out the picking order of the vineyards, which then transform from a state of calm and tranquillity to a bustling hive of activity, as an additional 350 seasonal recruits arrive to pick each bunch of grapes by hand. These are then placed into shallow 15kg baskets to ensure they remain in perfect condition as they reach our pressing centre, located at the Manor Vineyard.
Harvest 2021: Cool summer, late picking but fruitful results
Changeable weather is part and parcel of managing vineyards in England, and at Nyetimber we’re fortunate that Cherie, Brad and Ben possess the knowledge and experience to ensure our vines have thrived this year in what has been an even cooler summer than usual.
Harvest will begin this year on 7 October with the picking of Pinot Noir grapes at our Tillington vineyard in West Sussex, before moving to the Manor vineyard over the weekend. If all goes to plan, the harvest team will be in action until 23 October.
Discussing this growing season, Brad said: “The cooler summer has delayed our harvest compared to the previous few years; however, we have been making wine in England for 30 years, so we have developed ways to make the most of the climate in which we grow our grapes. Having estate owned vineyards really plays to our advantage in years like this as it allows us to realign what we do in the vineyard to assist in mitigating the cooler year. This year for instance, we have changed our nutrient plan to ensure our vine canopies stay as healthy as possible as well as spending more time opening the fruiting zones to increase air flow and sunlight. Like all crops, weather plays a huge role in quality and scale of harvest. A cooler flowering period means our crop will not be as bountiful, but we are still very optimistic on the quality of our fruit. The combination of hard work early in the season managing vine canopies, combined with a relatively fine September has allowed for some great looking bunches. We have experienced harvests as late as this in previous years and no doubt history will repeat itself. But for us it’s about adapting to each and every season and adjusting what we do in both the vineyard and winery to suit the year and always ensure the best possible result.”
About Nyetimber: For over 30 years, Nyetimber has had a single aim: crafting exceptional English sparkling wine that rivals the very best in the world. A true pioneer, Nyetimber was the first producer of English sparkling wine to exclusively grow the three celebrated grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Regarded as England’s finest sparkling wine, Nyetimber is made from one hundred percent estate-grown grapes. Owner and Chief Executive, Eric Heerema, works together with Head Winemaker Cherie Spriggs and Winemaker Brad Greatrix to produce wine of extraordinary elegance and quality. Cherie Spriggs was named ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge 2018 – one of the most highly-regarded wine competitions in the world. She was the first woman as well as the first person outside the Champagne region of France to win this prestigious award.