Southcott Vineyard

20th February 2014

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When Tim and I moved to Southcott House in 2005 the previous owner had a vineyard that he planted in1972 (date on website is a misprint). He had grown German grapes and made still wine. He pulled all the vines up in 1998. We decided that we would plant a new vineyard as a project as we had retired from the hotel business. We have always had an interest in wine as a product although we enjoy drinking it too!

We researched and took advice from various industry advisers and decided to plant the classic Champagne grapes. The vineyard is 60% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier and we imported the vines from France. Tim and I attended a course in 2006/7 on viticulture at Plumpton College, in East Sussex, which is the only training centre in England to specialize in this subject.

Our first harvest was a very small one in 2009 when we produced 540 bottles. We had a good harvest in 2010 of 2,000 bottles and the pinot grapes were so good that we made a rosé wine. In 2011 we produced another 2,000 bottles of classic white sparkling wine but had no harvest in 2012 as it was a cold wet year and the grapes would not ripen. This was the standard for the whole industry. In 2013 the weather was more mixed with a lovely hot summer but a cooler Sept/Oct so we harvested 10 days later than usual on 25th /29th October but had our largest harvest of 2.8 tons which should produce 2,500 bottles. It remains to be seen how good it is. The period from harvest to sale is at least 2 years. After every harvest the grape juice is mixed together to give us a single year vintage so what we pick will vary each year in the mix and give us a vintage year every time.

In our first harvest in 2009 we decided to bottle over a 3 year period to see if the wine would improve with age. In 2011 we therefore bottled 240 of the total 540 bottles and in 2012 only 150 with the final 150 bottles being finished in 2013. We do not offer this wine for sale but keep it for private use and to monitor its progress over the years ahead. At present the first year was fresh and light in taste and needs maturing. The second batch showed no real improvement but the final batch seems to have gained more body to it. The 2010 Rose was good from the start and is drinking well and is our promoted wine. The 2011 has more body to it from a year that produced and excellent Pinot Noir with low acid and high sugar. This has given the wine more strength in the back of the mouth when tasting so we hope it will improve with age.

So far our wines have received friendly comments from the industry.

We currently sell the 2010 Southcott Rose at Majestic in Marlborough, Planks Farm Shop at Urchfont and Coles Restaurant, Kingsbury Hill, Marlborough. We will consider offering the 2011 Pewsey Hill Classic Cuvee from April 2014 in time for Easter.

Glass of Bubbly

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