2020 is turning out to be a year of cruel irony. The weather that we have been enjoying almost since lockdown started has been amazing – it was if someone up there was trying to give us a glimmer of hope in this horror movie that we all find ourselves playing a reluctant part in. We could enjoy our gardens; wonder at the deep azure blue skies and hear the birdsong which has been stunning in its diversity – this was the hope amongst a very gloomy day to day existence as each of us worries about our loved ones; our family and friends who are vulnerable and our future whether that is the future of the business or our jobs or our very way of life in what we are being told is the new normal.
Throughout the pandemic, my vineyard has brought solace and joy. It has been a great delight to tend and look after the vines: a normality which I recognised and could hold onto in the world of the new normal: the vines still needed to be pruned, the vine prunings still needs to be collected to keep down the disease endemic in English vineyards. The canes from which, fingers crossed, we would get the fruit to make vintage 2020 needed to be tied down. The vineyard still required mowing every week as tall grass can add to the humidity levels and hence increase the disease risk and the weeds needed to be weeded. Hard work but fulfilling and above all normal.
There is always a risk in the spring as the young growth on vines is vulnerable to frost. Near freezing, temperatures can damage the young buds which will produce the fruit for that year’s vintage. A vineyard frosted looks like someone has set light to your vines - quite literally with a match; the effect is devastating. Last night, as temperatures dipped close to freezing mother nature, delivered her verdict on vintage 2020 from West Street Vineyard. We are still assessing the damage, but it could be more than 50% of this year’s vintage having been destroyed – it is over before we even got started.
It is a cruel trick. Those sunny days of beautiful spring weather throughout late March & April, the family BBQs in the garden; the long days working in the wonderful warm spring sunshine in the vineyard maybe gave me a false sense of security. I had hoped that in the vintage of pandemic, mother nature would not deliver her cruellest blow. In the year where we did not, could not in all conscience light fires to keep our vines warm mother nature has done her worst. In the great scheme of things, it is not such a great loss, but it summed up to me in no uncertain way our lives. Wine production is always uncertain, unpredictable – especially so far north at 51 degrees above the equator. Even with global warming, it is only just possible to ripen grapes in England and those heady days of the wines from 2018 seem like a lifetime ago. The vintage is determined by hard work but also by a great deal of luck. In some way, it seems to me to be like the pandemic itself. This virus will be beaten by hard work and determination of millions of us pulling together and looking after one another but its eventual defeat will also depend upon a huge amount of luck too.
Events coming up
Chardonnay Wine tasting Monday 18th May 2020 : Love it or hate it why we should drink it!
Wine tasting: Our popular showcasing of the world’s major grape varieties will be on Monday, May 18th 2020 @ 6:00 pm – focused on one of the world’s giants in the terms of grapes. Join us on
Facebook Live: Our normal West Street Vineyard Facebook live or for the first time we are going to use Zoom. There are a 100 spaces on Zoom (also free) we will run them simultaneously: Zoom details are as follows: Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 718 4416 3289
#EastAnglian wine night: Friday May 22nd: Starting at 7:30 pm
Why not join us with a glass of something from East Anglia. More information to follow. Watch this space….Learn about some of the wines from over 90 commercial vineyards in East Anglia.
Wines available from our On-line shop
It really couldn’t be easier to click & collect from the drive-in wine shop at the vineyard open Saturday mornings from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm or we will deliver for free within a 15-mile radius of Coggeshall.
We still have some of our lovely white wine from 2018 available. It is similar in style to a Sauvignon Blanc, but it is dry and fruity with a little bit of apple. Perfect with local fish, seafood or chicken.
New vintage rosé available from our online shop
2019 Rosé is now available. It is so pale in colour you could mistake it as being from Provence but with a lot less alcohol of course so perfect for lunchtime drinking. A little aroma of strawberry & cream on the nose Dry and fresh. Perfect for long sun-drenched days sunbathing in your garden or to go with the family BBQ.
West Street Sparkling
We also have our delicious West Street Sparkling for the perfect occasion or it makes the perfect gift if you have someone you would like to spoil for their birthday or wedding anniversary.
Please purchase wines from our shop www.weststreetvineyard/shop