We produced a very small quantity of grapes in 2008 and made just a few bottles of red for our own consumption – this is now drinking well. In 2009 we had more, as more of the vines recovered from their years of neglect and we, in conjunction with Sam Linter at Bookers Vineyard in Sussex decided to try a rosé – and produced a rosé that I honestly feel is one of the best I have tasted – crisp, dry, light, refreshing – and without the sticky after taste so common in many of today's rosés.
I have in the last 18 months completed the Principles of Vine Growing and Principles of Winemaking courses at Plumpton College, both of which were informative, hard work and thoroughly enjoyable – even learning to enjoy pruning vines in the cold, wet and mud!
2010 saw very late frosts and, although some vineyards in England were hit badly by this, we were lucky. However the summer brought another problem – wasps! Many vineyards were affected and sadly a lot of our red grapes were lost to these stripy pests.
We also replanted 'blank' areas of the vineyard with new vines last year and will be putting more in shortly. This will then bring the vineyard to almost full capacity.
Growing vines is a year round job and sees us out there in all weathers. The early spring has brought buds and we now keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be kind and keep the frosts away – the biggest worry to any vine growers – especially in cooler climates.
We had hoped that 2011 would see us bringing Bardingley Wines back to the market, but we have decided that we will wait until 2012 when we will have enough wine to meet demand. It is very much a case of 'watch this space'.